Mendenhall River at low flow
Just thought I'd pass the word on to other folks looking for pack rafting trips. I floated the Mendenhall River yesterday (April 27) at low flow, 250 cfs, in a packraft. It was a fun urban float, with a few little splashy rapids and shallow rock gardens. Alot of the time you're in backyards, but there are also some more natural-looking spots.
I took the city bus each way, to the put in at Montana Loop Road bridge and the takeout at the Glacier Highway bridge. Pretty cool to have doorstop service for $3 round trip! You can also walk to the lake from the bus route, but I've done that before and it took longer than I had time for yesterday. It took an hour and 45 minutes to run bridge to bridge, with lots of getting out and scouting.
The rapids are in the first quarter of the trip and easy at this water level. They are all scoutable at this water level. I had to watch out for sweepers after the first high cut bank. Shortly thereafter there was a recently fallen tree blocking the entire channel. The flow was slow enough that it was no problem to hop out and walk around. When the upstream wind picked up, I had to paddle to keep going downstream. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE RIVER CHANGES DRAMATICALLY AT HIGH (SUMMER) FLOWS. I PERSONALLY WOULDN'T PACKRAFT IT AT SUMMER FLOWS (I'm a beginner). The tour companies advertise the Mendenhall as Class III+ at high summer flow.