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River Shuttle Services:

Hells Canyon Shuttle, Inc
Located in:
Oxbow, OR

More Details
Our Website
Hell’s Canyon Shuttle, Inc. is a family owned business and has been providing the rafting community of Hell’s Canyon dependable sh (more...)

Paddlesports Shops:

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
Located in:
Bend, OR

More Details
Our Website
Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe has the largest selection of whitewater kayaks, sea kayaks, recreational kayaks, paddleboards and can (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Oregon  :: North Santiam River Oregon  :: Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip

Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the North Santiam River

View larger map of Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park & get directions
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Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Video

Kayaker's in Niagra Rapid
Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Below Big Cliff Dam
Take Out:  Packsaddle County Park
Difficulty:  Class III + , Class V , Portage
Gradient:  26 ft/mi
Run Length:  5 miles
Current Streamflow:  2470 cfs @ 12/14/2016 09:00 AM - NORTH SANTIAM RIVER AT NIAGARA, OR, reading taken from USGS
Good Level:  1500 - 3200 cfs
Streamflow Comments: 
Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Primary Season: 

Sometimes winter dam releases cause very high water.

Permit:  None presently required
Hazards:  Cold water, logs, Packsaddle Dam (mandatory portage), Niagara rapids (V).
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Land Ownership:  Mixed public & private
Wilderness:  No
Camping on River:  No
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), 30 miles East of Salem
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put in: Drive east on Oregon 22 to the base of Big Cliff Dam (the small reregulating dam below Detroit Dam, easily visible from the highway). Carry boats down the bank to the river.

Take out: Packsaddle County Park boat ramp, 3-4 miles east of Gates, Oregon.

*Portions of this run
information provided by
Dave Werth.


Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park on the North Santiam River

Mile .8(The Narrows Rapid): The Narrows Rapid is a long turbulent rapid blocked by a large hydraulic at the top. Catch the eddy on river right above this rapid to scout this drop before running it. At lower flows portages around this rapid are very common.

Mile 3(Niagara Rapid): Niagara rapid should be scouted because it is a class V rapid with heavy consequences. If you are planning on running this drop it is easily scouted from Niagara Park on the shuttle drive to the put in.

Mile 5(Packsaddle Dam): Packsaddle Dam is a mandatory portage because the dam creates a very sticky hydraulic. Portage on river right.

Just below Packsaddle Dam you will arrive at Packsaddle County Park and the take out.

Last Edited by josho on 4/26/2011

Towns near Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Kayaking

Albany Oregon
Bend Oregon
Clackamas Oregon
Eugene Oregon
Gresham Oregon
Lebanon Oregon
Portland Oregon
Redmond Oregon
Salem Oregon
Sandy Oregon
Sisters Oregon
Springfield Oregon
Tualatin Oregon

Other Resources

Conservation Organizations
  • Rogue Riverkeeper
  • Water Watch
  • Pacific Coast Kayak Clubs
  • Lower Columbia Canoe Club
  • Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club
  • Oregon Whitewater Association
  • POCO - Paddlers Of Central Oregon
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club
  • Travel Guides
  • Oregon Vacation & Travel Planner