Young / Youngs Fork to Makarora River

Info

Class: 
IV+
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
20 cumecs
Gauge: 

Visual

Gradient: 
11.5m/km
Length: 
6.5km
Time: 
3 hours
Put in: 
River flats below Youngs Fork (2.5 hours walk)
Take out: 
Makarora River
Shuttle: 
Walk or helicopter
Maps: 
NZ Topo F38
Character: 
Steep, tight, technical
Hot tip: 
The walk will make you feel younger
Tags: 
Rain
The Young has a short scenic gorge between the Young Forks and Ram Flat near the Makarora and makes an excellent half day trip to do on the way to, or from, the coast. Below Ram Flat the river meanders easily out to the Makarora. The gorge is relatively open with a track running alongside on the left.

Once you have ferried across the Makarora if the Young looks low and clear don’t bother carrying your boat any further. The ideal flow is obviously higher than normal and slightly discoloured, without being in flood.

If you decide it’s all good, shoulder boats and walk to the put in at the next set of flats after Ram Flat (032616 F38 260). The walk is pleasant on an excellent track and takes between 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

At the flats, put your deck on push off straight into a fast little rapid with a hole at the bottom that will certainly cool you down after the hike. The next 2-3 kilometres contain fun continuous class III rapids with intermittent class IV drops, each with it’s own classic move. Just above Ram Flat is Priopism, a long class IV/V rapid with a steep entry. All the rapids are easily scouted and the walking track is always close by on river left.

Undercut boulders a common and probably more of a concern at lower flows. Keep an eye out for wood also as there are plenty of trees upstream waiting to get washed down in the next flood. From Ram Flat the river is class 1-2 down to the Makarora. Walk back to the car the way you came.

You can earn your petrol money by ferrying stranded trampers, who have often spent days at the confluence with no food, back across the river! They regularly get stuck here after the very popular 3 day Young – Wilkin tramp.

History: 
Credits: 
Graham Charles, Sean Waters
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
p0