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Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
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site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Oregon  :: McKenzie River Oregon  :: Tributary - Blue River Whitewater Kayaking Trip

Tributary - Blue River Whitewater Kayaking Trip on the McKenzie River

Put in for the Blue at 1300
Typical ledge found on this run at 1300 Zach Small, Drew Oldfield, and Nick Pierce at the take out Drop on Lookout Creek at the take out

View larger map of Tributary - Blue River & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Tributary - Blue River Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Cook Creek
Take Out:  Blue River Lake
Difficulty:  Class IV
Gradient:  91 fpm
Run Length:  4 miles
Good Level:  250-1000
Streamflow Comments: 

Levels near 1,000 CFS offer many on the fly waves and holes. At low water dont forget your elbow pads.

Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, October, November, December
Primary Season: 

Fall and spring are the best times to run this section because the road is usually free of snow. Also rainy season offers the best flows.

Permit:  None presently required
Character/Similar To:  Pool drop class III/IV roadside in a forested canyon.
Hazards:  Lots of wood, scout the entire run on the shuttle drive. A river wide log is clearly visible from river level about 3.5 miles down. Portage on river right.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan
Wilderness:  Yes
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), of
Shuttle Logistics: 

Take Out: From Highway 126 turn north onto Blue River Reservoir Road. Continue on this road until you reach Lookout Creek Boat Launch Area.

Put In: From take out, continue north on Blue River Reservoir Road. When you come to a bridge that passes over cook creek you have reached the put in. An alternative put in is further up the road. Putting in further up offers a fun class V drop and a long portage.

Tributary - Blue River on the McKenzie River

Blue River is a classic example Oregon class IV creek boating. It’s a short section of river packed with many fun rapids, always has new wood, and it is all roadside. The action starts as soon as you peel out of the put in eddy with some read and run class III+/IV- whitewater. At lower water the river takes on a pool drop character, but at high water it is very continuous with few eddies.

There are many significant rapids on this run, most go unnamed. About half way through the run is a drop called “Pincushion”; this is the hardest rapid of the day. At flows below 500cfs it can be run down the left side and around the corner. Above 500 cfs there are two different lines. The left line has a fun boof into a sticky pour over and lines you up well to make the airplane turn at the bottom. The right line requires a strong ferry through some boily water into the middle of the airplane turn. Each line offers its own challenges.

Every rapid on this section is easily runnable as long as it does not contain wood, always scout for wood. About .5 miles above the take out there is a mandatory portage around a river wide log. The log is easily seen from river level shortly after you float underneath the bridge, portage on river right. Take out is on river left once you have reached the reservoir. For an extra thrill you can hike a short distance up Lookout Creek and run a fun class IV slide underneath the bridge. This slide can only be run during the fall because in the spring it is in the reservoir. For a long day Blue River can be linked with Quartz Creek, located a few miles down highway 126.

Last Edited by bradgoet on 9/27/2011

Towns near Tributary - Blue River Kayaking

Albany Oregon
Bend Oregon
Eugene Oregon
Gresham Oregon
Lebanon Oregon
Redmond Oregon
Salem Oregon
Sisters Oregon
Springfield 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