Other Whitewater Trips on the Santiam River - South Fork

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River Shuttle Services:

Hells Canyon Shuttle, Inc
Located in:
Oxbow, OR

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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

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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  :: Santiam River - South Fork Oregon  :: Tributary - Canyon Creek Whitewater Kayaking Trip

Tributary - Canyon Creek Whitewater Kayaking Trip on the Santiam River - South Fork

Take out bridge for Canyon Creek
Jesse at the put in Jeff on the first ledge drop at 340 cfs Osprey Falls at 340 cfs Nick in one of the many fun ledge drops at 340 cfs Zach entering a double drop at 340 cfs
Zach above a log choked ledge drop at 340 cfs Group portage around a log jam at 340 cfs Nick in the one boat take out eddy at 340 cfs

View larger map of Tributary - Canyon Creek & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Tributary - Canyon Creek Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  7-Mile Bridge
Take Out:  South Santiam River
Difficulty:  Class IV , Class V + Continuous/Pool Drop , Portage
Gradient:  100 fpm
Run Length:  7 miles
Current Streamflow:  1260 cfs @ 12/14/2016 09:30 AM - SOUTH SANTIAM RIVER BELOW CASCADIA, OR, reading taken from USGS
Good Level:  350 - 1,000
Streamflow Comments: 

No gauge for this run exists. If the South Santiam Below Cascadia gauge reads 1,200 - 2,000 cfs expect good flows on Canyon Creek. Also Canyon Creek usually has more water then Wiley Creek at Foster and less water then Blue River at Tidbits.

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

This creek only rains after a few days of heavy rain. During the winter the road is usually block by snow.

Permit:  None presently required
Character/Similar To:  Many class IV/V ledge drops over sticky hydraulics in a very scenic canyon that has a very secluded feel
Hazards:  Lots of ledge drops with heavy consequences. Lots of wood, wood always moves. Very deep canyon, walking out of the canyon is not an option.The upper 2 miles are class V and should be boated by experts only. High flows in this canyon can be very dangerous.
Land Ownership:  Public Forest
Wilderness:  Yes
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), of
Shuttle Logistics: 

Take Out: From Sweet Home head east on US 20 for about 10 miles. Turn right onto Canyon Creek Road. Immediately after turning onto the road pull off on the right. Scout the take out eddy below the bridge because it is a one boat eddy, missing this eddy results in a mile long hike back to the highway.

Put In: From the take out continue upriver on Canyon Creek Road for 5 miles. To run the lower 5 miles park at the landslide and start the long hike into the deep canyon. Sometimes a trail exists, if you can find it, most of the time bushwhacking to the bottom is necessary.

Tributary - Canyon Creek on the Santiam River - South Fork

Canyon Creek is a classic Oregon creek; it involves a short hike, lots of scouting, great scenery, and lots of wood. At the put in there is a very steep and wooded hike down to the river. The locals told us that some years there is a trail marked with ribbon and other years, like this year, bushwhacking down the canyon is necessary. When doing this hike, be ready to get covered in mud.

Once at river level take a moment to look around at the beautiful canyon walls, and except the fact that down river is the only way out of the canyon. This run starts off with .5 miles of continuous class III warm up before you get to the first drop. The first drop is an 8 foot ledge drop with a boof flake in the middle. This is the first of many fun drops; expect similar drops throughout the run.

Shortly after the first ledge is Osprey Falls. Osprey Falls is a technical class V double drop with extremely large consequences. This drop has two large holes, the second hole is backed by a large undercut rock, and the entire drop is surrounded by sieves. Osprey can be run at all flows, higher flows present more consequences, set up good safety before anyone runs this drop. Scout or portage this on river right.

After Osprey, the gradient of the creek slows down. There are still many fun class IV drops between short sections of continuous class III. This lower section of the creek requires a few portages around log jams. It is very important to scout each horizon line for wood on the lower portions of this run; the unstable conditions of this canyon produce many down trees.

At the take out lots of eddy hopping is necessary because there is a one boat eddy under the take out bridge. Missing the take out eddy results in a long class II paddle until the next take out option is reached.

A good first time level for this run is about 350 cfs, even at lower levels this creek is very continuous class IV+ with few eddies. At levels above 450 cfs this creek becomes continuous class V; it is not recommended to run this creek for the first time at high water.

Last Edited by josho on 5/3/2011

Other Resources

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