This section of river is perhaps one of the best runs in Oregon. When it runs, paddlers and rafters flock from all corners of the state. It usually comes in about one day a year, but every few years it will remain very high for a few weeks. Although this run is considered to have class IV whitewater, the remoteness of the canyon walls makes this a class V day.
If you put in a Lone Pine Bridge, the run starts off with a very scenic flat water warm up for 2.5 miles.
Mile 2.5: The first whitewater that you encounter will help you determine weather or not you want to continue deep into the canyon. Look for a large tube crossing the river above the canyon walls to signify the 1.5 miles of class IV read and run ahead. If you make it to Smith Rock with confidence chances are you will be fine through the rest of the canyon. If the first 1.5 miles of whitewater feel big and difficult remember that it only gets harder the further you go.
Mile 4(Smith Rock): For the next couple of miles enjoy the scenery of Smith Rock. Keep an eye out for the next big horizon line.
Mile 7.5(Number One Rapid): Number One is marked by a significant horizon line during a long flatwater stretch. Scout or portage on river right. There are many lines through Number One. You can take the sneak line down river right; the second best line is down far river left. If you want to run the hero line, stay center and skirt the two giant holes. In the event that someone wants to run the hero line set up good safety. At high flows the two holes in the center become very big and sticky.
Mile 9(Number Two Rapid): You will know you have reached Number Two when the river takes a sharp left turn after a long straight stretch of flat water. Scout this rapid from high on the cliffs on river right. Both the left and right channels are runnable at all levels; at higher flows both sides develop sticky hydraulics.
Mile 10.5(Wap-Te-Doodle Rapid): This rapid is one of the most intimidating rapids on the run, scout on river left. Although this rapid looks big and scary, just remember that it is a gentle giant. Wap-te-doodle, in my opinion is the most fun rapid on the run. At lower flows, start left and about ¾ of the way down make the move to the right. When the river is high, 2,500 cfs or above, a fun boof is developed in the middle.
Mile 15(No Name Rapid): No Name Rapid is the hardest and the most consequential rapid on the run, scout this rapid from river right. At all levels you can sneak this entire rapid down the river right. At the bottom of the rapid, do what ever you can do to avoid the hole. Swimming here is the worst place to swim on the run because below the class III run out does not stop for almost a mile.
Mile 18(China Dam): After the river slows down for a little while look for the final horizon line. China Dam is a very ugly rapid with lots of exposed rebar and very sharp rock. If you choose not to run this rapid take out on river left and scramble up the steep canyon for about 20 feet to the trail. If you do run this rapid, run it on river right.
After you are done on the river take out on river left and begin the long 1.8 mile hike out of the canyon.