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River Shuttle Services:

Hells Canyon Shuttle, Inc
Located in:
Oxbow, OR

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

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Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
Located in:
Bend, OR

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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  :: Bruno Mountain Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip

Bruno Mountain Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the North Santiam River

View from put-in at Bruno Mtn Bridge at 1760 cfs
Boogie water typical of this run at 1760 cfs Small rapid near take-out with spectacular views of Mt Jefferson at 2050 cfs View of a snow capped Mt. Jefferson Take-out play wave at 1760 cfs

View larger map of Bruno Mountain & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Bruno Mountain Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Bruno Mtn. Road
Take Out:  Blowout Road
Difficulty:  Class III + Up to 1700 cfs , Class IV Above 1700 cfs
Gradient:  67 ft/mi
Run Length:  7 miles
Current Streamflow:  903 cfs @ 12/14/2016 09:15 AM - NO SANTIAM R BLW BOULDER CRK, NR DETROIT, OR, reading taken from USGS
Flow Information (phone):  Detroit Dam; (503)897-2385.
Good Level:  1,000-2,500 cfs
Streamflow Comments: 

This is a very volatile river for flows. It runs in the winter when there is lots of rain and sometimes it runs in the spring from snowmelt. If you can catch it in the spring on a sunny day and flows around 2000 cfs, it is an absolute treat. Tons of play and manageable for most intermediates with a good roll.

Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, November, December
Primary Season: 
Permit:  None presently required.
Character/Similar To:  Fast current with shallow water. Consistent gradient and action with numerous opportunities for play. This run isn't that great for beginners because the river is so shallow.
Hazards:  Cold water and possible log hazards.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Land Ownership:  Mixed National Forest and private.
Wilderness:  No
Camping on River:  USFS & State campgrounds nearby (1 along the river).
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), 45 miles East of Salem
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put in: Oregon Highway 22 follows the river. Drive east from Salem past Detroit Lake and the town of Detroit. Continue upstream (east of) the town of Idanha to Bruno Mt. Road. Cross the river and park on the other side of the bridge.

Take out: Continue downstream past the town of Idanha and turn left on Blowout Road. Continue to the bridge crossing the river. A great surf wave is just upstream of the bridge. You can also take out at the campground you'll pass on Blowout road. Detroit Lake begins right at this campground.

Bruno Mountain on the North Santiam River

This is a great step up run for people trying to move from beginner to intermediate boater. However this run is fast, shallow and continuous so boaters should have a solid roll and be a class III boater.

Starting at the put-in at the Bruno Mt road, fast and shallow water are a good warm up for the rest of the run. Hwy 22 follows the river most of the way but the river does pull away from the highway in several sections. After the put-in the river will angle to the right and meet up with the highway as you bounce through a small rapid.

Ricochet Rapid is a long class III/IV rapid that is scoutable from the road about 1/2 mile downstream of the put-in and just upstream from Whispering Falls Campground. The 2nd time the river bends to the right you'll bounce through a short boily rapid that leads into Ricochet. If anyone has trouble here collect your people and gear and think about if you really want to continue.

As you approach the highway, the river bends back to the left and you enter Ricochet rapid requiring several quick moves and solid bracing. At flows below 1700 cfs the left side is the deepest. At flows above 1700 cfs alot more options open up. Look for catch on the fly waves and stickier holes to surf. At around 2000 cfs most of the holes on the left side turn into flushing waves.

For the next two or three miles you run through some fun class II & III boogie water. There are waves to surf but most are catch on the fly so stay alert. But don't wear yourself out because the really good stuff comes along later.

As you pass under Cooper's Ridge Bridge, the North Santiam River moves away from Highway 22 again and you'll pass by the old wood mill. Keep your eye open for some great rapids and play opportunities through this whole section.

Just above Church Street Bridge, the river splits around an island. The right chute has a pushy but really fun class III rapid with a green wall on river right. Eddy out and surf everything you can here. The rapid ends at the bridge.

About a mile downstream you'll approach the biggest rapid on the trip in the left channel of an island. It's steep and rocky. At high flows it is very pushy with big holes. At flows above 1700 cfs you can paddle the right channel and avoid it altogether. You can scout it on river left.

The run ends at the Blowout Road Bridge. As you round the corner above the bridge, there are several fun waves to catch on the fly. If you miss all of those waves, catch the giant eddy on the left. At the top of the eddy is a fantastic but shallow wave that is great for front surfing and spinning. However, it's not very deep but it is an auto spin wave and it's great for learning to surf and spin. At flows of around 2000 cfs and up this smaller wave feeds into a bigger deeper wave in the center of the river. The center wave requires advanced skills just to catch it but well worth the work.

Last Edited by josho on 4/26/2011

Towns near Bruno Mountain Kayaking

Albany Oregon
Bend Oregon
Camp Sherman 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