Wild & Scenic Rivers - Oregon

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Big Marsh Creek
Deschutes National Forest
Big Marsh Creek meanders through a large, high elevation marsh to its confluence with Crescent Creek. The upper portion of the river is in the Oregon Cascades National Recreation Area. There are opportunities for canoeing, fishing, and observing wildlife.
Total Miles: 15, Recreational: 15

Chetco River
Siskiyou National Forest
The outstanding value of this southwestern Oregon stream is its anadromous fisheries. The Chetco provides high quality spawning beds and rearing pools for salmon and steelhead. On-site sport fishing is also an important recreation activity.
Total Miles: 44.5, Wild: 25.5, Scenic 8, Recreational: 11

Clackamas River
Mt. Hood National Forest
Originating in the Cascade Range, the Clackamas flows through a steep-walled canyon lined with dense forest and basalt crags on its way to the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon. A superb fishery, spectacular scenery, and various recreational activities are its special features.
Feature Article: Slammed! - Kayaking the Fish River Run on the Clackamas
Total Miles: 47, Scenic 20, Recreational: 27

Crescent Creek
Deschutes National Forest
The segment of Crescent Creek below the Crescent Creek Dam flows through a narrow, pristine canyon. The scenery is a key feature of this river.
Total Miles: 10, Recreational: 10

Crooked River
Ochoco National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
185 East Fourth Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
This recreational segment offers expert class IV-V kayaking/rafting during spring runoffs and scenic, vertical, basalt canyons from the Chetco National Forest to Opal Spring.
Total Miles: 15, Recreational: 15

Crooked River, North Fork
Ochoco National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
185 East Fourth Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
After beginning in a series of prairies, the river winds through vertical, rimrock cliffs and old growth ponderosa pine on its way to the Crooked River. This primarily wild river segment offers scenic canyons and outstanding trout fishing.
Total Miles: 32.3, Wild: 11.1, Scenic 9.5, Recreational: 11.7

Deschutes River
Deschutes National ForestBureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
185 East 4th Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
The Deschutes is one of Oregon's premier rivers. It features ruggedly beautiful scenery, outstanding whitewater boating, and a renowned sport fishery for steelhead and native rainbow trout.
Total Miles: 173.4, Scenic 30, Recreational: 143.4

Donner und Blitzen River
Bureau of Land Management, Burns District Office,
HC74-12533 Hwy. 20 West, Hines, OR 97738
From its headwaters to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge boundary, including major tributaries, this wild river offers scenic glaciated canyons, unique ecosystems, and exceptional wild trout fisheries.
Total Miles: 72.7, Wild: 72.7

Eagle Creek
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Eagle Creek headwaters in the Wallow Mountains and flows through mountain meadows and a deep, glaciated canyon. The river area offers spectacular scenery recreation opportunities and cultural and historic features.
Total Miles: 27, Wild: 4, Scenic 6, Recreational: 17

Elk River
Siskiyou National Forest
Oregon State Parks, 525 Trade Street, SE, Salem, OR 9731i
The Elk River, including its North Fork, is an important anadromous fishery in southwestern Oregon. Scenery is an added attraction.
Total Miles: 19, Wild: 2, Recreational: 17

Grande Ronde River
Umatilla National Forest
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Vale District Office,
100 Oregon Street, Vale, OR 97918
From the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to the Oregon-Washington State line, this river offers outstanding scenery, flatboating, salmon and steelhead fishing, wildlife winter range, and cultural resources.
Total Miles: 43.8, Wild: 26.4, Recreational: 17.4

Illinois River
Siskiyou National Forest
Whitewater provides plenty of excitement for small rafts and kayaks, while clear, still, blue-green pools offer contrast and opportunities for catching anadromous fish, including large steelhead.
Total Miles: 50.4, Wild: 28.7, Scenic 17.9, Recreational: 3.8

Imnaha River
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
The Imnaha River, including its South Fork, follows a fault line to its confluence with the Snake River. This river is predominantly within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Total Miles: 77, Wild: 15, Scenic 4, Recreational: 58

John Day River
Malheur National Forest
Umatilla National Forest
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
185 East 4th Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
From Service Creek to Tumwater Falls, this segment offers colorful canyons, exceptional anadromous steelhead and warmwater bass fishing, archeological, historical, and paleontological values.
Total Miles: 147.5, Recreational: 147.5

John Day River, North Fork
Umatilla National Forest
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
From its headwaters to Camas Creek, the North Fork is one of the most important rivers in northeast Oregon for the production of anadromous fish. Geologic formations, whitewater rafting, and early day mining remains are also important features of this river.
Total Miles: 54.1, Wild: 27.8, Scenic 10.5, Recreational: 15.8

John Day River, South Fork
Malheur National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
18S East 4th Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
From the Malheur National Forest to Smoky Creek, this segment offers outstanding scenery, wild steelhead fishing, hunting, hiking, swimming, and camping.
Total Miles: 47, Recreational: 47

Joseph Creek
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
This scenic northeast Oregon stream follows a rugged, basalt canyon. Joseph Creek and its environs are popular for hiking, horseback riding, and big game hunting. Petroglyphs are found on the steep canyon walls.
Total Miles: 8.6, Wild: 8.6

Klamath River
Bureau of Land Managment
Total Miles: 11, Scenic 11

Little Deschutes River
Deschutes National Forest
This segment of the Little Deschutes runs from its headwaters to the National Forest boundary, including the 1500 foot deep Little Deschutes Canyon, and spectacular mountain scenery.
Total Miles: 12, Recreational: 12

Lostine River
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
From its headwaters in the Eagle Cap Wilderness to the National Forest boundary, the Lostine River follows a glaciated, U-shaped valley surrounded by mountain meadows and high mountain peaks. The river corridor supports an anadromous fishery and a herd of Rocky Mountain sheep.
Total Miles: 16, Wild: 5, Recreational: 11

Malheur River
Malheur National Forest
The designated segment of the Malheur runs from Bosenberg Creek downstream to the forest boundary This wild remote river in eastern Oregon has outstanding trout fishing, big game hunting, and virgin ponderosa pine stands.
Total Miles: 13.7, Scenic 7, Recreational: 6.7

Malheur River, North Fork
Malheur National Forest
The North Fork Malheur River's outstanding values are its scenery and geology. Flowing from a mosaic of lodgepole pine, meadow/wetland areas, and old growth pine, it enters a steep rugged canyon at its lower end.
Total Miles: 25.5, Scenic 25.5

McKenzie River
Willamette National Forest
From Clear Creek to Scott Creek, the McKenzie is a challenge to whitewater rafters and driftboaters. Its water clarity and cold temperatures enjoy a national reputation.
Total Miles: 12.7, Recreational: 12.7

Metolius River
Deschutes National Forest
The Metolius is one of the largest spring-fed streams in the. United States. It is a highly used recreation area with whitewater boating, fishing, and streamside activities. It is partly within the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Total Miles: 28.6, Scenic 17.1, Recreational: 11.5

Minam River
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
The Minam is entirely within the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The river corridor supports a large population of elk and is heavily used for hunting, fishing, backpacking, horse packing, and other recreational activities.
Total Miles: 39, Wild: 39,

North Powder River
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
From its origin in the Elkhorn Mountains to the National Forest boundary, the North Powder displays splendid mountain scenery and is popular for big game hunting, trail bike riding, and back country hiking.
Total Miles: 6, Scenic 6

Owyhee River
Bureau of Land Management, Vale District,
100 Oregon Street, Vale, OR 97918
From the Owyhee reservoir to the Oregon/ldaho border, the Owyhee flows through a remote, almost unpopulated area. Much of the river cuts through deeply incised canyons that along with canyon rims are home to mountain lion, bobcat, mule deer, California bighorn sheep, and a large variety of raptors. Recreational use is increasing despite difficulty of access.
Total Miles: 120, Wild: 120

Owyhee River, North Fork
Bureau of Land Management, Vale District,
100 Oregon Street, Vale, OR 97918
The North Fork of the Owyhee River lies in the high plateau region of southeast Oregon and is essentially within a narrow, deep basalt-rimmed canyon. The river is recognized for its outstandingly remarkable scenery, geology' wildlife habitat, and "expert" kayaking opportunities.
Total Miles: 9.6, Wild: 9.6

Owyhee River, West Little
Bureau of Land Management, Vale District,
100 Oregon Street, Vale, OR 97918
The West Little Owyhee River is within the high plateau region of southeast Oregon. The river is recognized for its remarkable scenery, unique culture' sites, opportunities for solitude, primitive recreation, and geological features.
Total Miles: 56.7, Wild: 56.7

Powder River
Bureau of Land Management, Vale District,
100 Oregon Street, Vale, OR 97918
From Thief Dam to the Highway 203 bridge, this scenic segment is key for observing raptors and other wildlife species.
Total Miles: 11.7, Scenic 11.7

Quartzville Creek
Willamette National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Salem District,
1717 Fabry Road SE., Salem, OR 97306
From the Willamette National Forest to the slack water at Green Peter Reservoir, this segment offers recreational gold panning and occasional whitewater boating.
Total Miles: 12, Recreational: 12

Rapid River
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area,
Route 1, Box 270A, Enterprise, OR 97828
This river's whitewater harbors an important salmon hatchery.
Total Miles: 26.8; Wild: 26.8

Roaring River
Mt. Hood National Forest
Tributary to the Clackamas River, the Roaring River's primitive character and remoteness are its outstanding values. Salmon and steelhead, as well as resident trout, inhabit its waters.
Total Miles: 13.7, Wild: 13.5, Recreational: 02

Rogue River
Siskiyou National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Medford District,
3040 Biddle Road, Medford, OR 97504
Emerging from the western slope of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, the Rogue winds across farmlands and orchards before passing through wilderness to the Pacific Ocean. The river is renowned for whitewater boating and anadromous fishing opportunities. For more information, see "Rafting the Rogue."
Total Miles: 84.5, Wild: 34, Scenic 7.5, Recreational: 43

Rogue River (Upper)
Rogue River National Forest
From the Crater Lake National Park boundary downstream to Prospect, this section of the Rogue follows a major highway and tourist route to the park. Its diverse landscape includes pumice flats, deep gorges and chutes, and unique ecological systems.
Total Miles: 40.3, Wild: 6.1, Scenic 34.2

Salmon River, Oregon
Mt. Hood National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Salem District,
1717 Fabry Road, SE, Salem, OR 97306
From Mt. Hood National Forest to the confluence with the Sandy River, this river segment is near metropolitan Portland, Oregon, and recreational sites. Anadromous fisheries, picnicking, and other recreational opportunities are available.
Total Miles: 33.5, Wild: 15, Scenic 4.8, Recreational: 13.7

Sandy River
Mt. Hood National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Salem District,
1717 Fabry Road, SE, Salem, OR 97306
The designation includes two separate sections. The upper Sandy is glacially fed and contains spectacular scenery, easily observed geologic features, unique plant communities, and a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The lower Sandy ~s similarly noted for its range of recreational opportunities and anadromous fishery.
Total Miles: 24.9, Wild: 4.5, Scenic 3.8, Recreational: 16.6

Smith River, North Fork
Siskiyou National Forest
The North Fork Smith flows south out of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwestern Oregon to the state border to tie with the Smith River System in California.
Total Miles: 13, Wild: 8.5, Scenic 4.5

Snake River
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area,
Route 1, Box 270A, Enterprise, OR 97828
Traversing Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge on the North American continent, the Snake is famed for whitewater boating and fishing. The river offers spectacular scenery, rich cultural resources, and unique plant and wildlife species.
Total Miles: 66.9, Wild: 32.5, Scenic 34.4

Sprague River, North Fork
Fremont National Forest
The designated portion of North Fork Sprague flows through broad, high-elevation meadows. Scenery is its special attraction.
Total Miles: 15, Scenic 15

Squaw Creek
Deschutes National Forest
The three forks of Squaw Creek headwater in the Three Sisters Wilderness on the east slope of the Cascade Range.
Total Miles: 15.4, Wild: 6.6, Scenic , Recreational: 8.8

Sycan River
Fremont National Forest
Winema National Forest
The unique features of this southern Oregon stream are its distinctive scenery which varies from a steep canyon to broad meadows. The Sycan Marsh is a wetland habitat for sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and waterfowl.
Total Miles: 59, Scenic 50.4, Recreational: 8.6

Umpqua River, North
Umpqua National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Roseburg District,
777 N.W. Garden Valley Boulevard, Roseburg, OR 97470
Fly fishing, whitewater boating, and scenic driving are premier recreation activities along the North Umpqua. The clear water, virgin Douglas fir stands, and geologic formations add to the spectacular scenery.
Total Miles: 33.8, Recreational: 33.8

Wenaha River
Umatilla National Forest
The Wenaha flows between rugged, basalt outcrops rising 1,600 feet to the plateau above. It is one of the best rainbow trout streams in northeastern Oregon.
Total Miles: 21.55, Wild: 18.7, Scenic 2.7, Recreational: 0.15

White River
Mt. Hood National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District,
185 East 4th Street, P.O. Box 550, Prineville, OR 97754
From Mt. Hood National Forest to near the confluence with the Deschutes River, this outstandingly scenic canyon offers waterfalls and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. During the late summer glacial outflow from Mount Hood, the river turns milky white due to suspended sediment concentrations.
Total Miles: 46.5, Scenic 24, Recreational: 22.5

Willamette River, North Fork of the Middle Fork
Willamette National Forest
Crystal clear water, fly fishing for trout, and towering Dauglas fir trees along its banks characterize this stream on the west slopes of the Cascade Range.
Total Miles: 42.3, Wild: 8.8, Scenic 6.5, Recreational: 27

Definitions of the terms; "Wild, Scenic, and Recreational."

Contrary to what you might think, these terms don't describe the character of the river. Wild doesn't mean it's a wicked and foamy stretch of whitewater, and scenic doesn't mean it's a pastoral float. Rather, it's all about accessibility. Here's what the government says. . .

Wild; this river is accessible only by trail, is undeveloped and generally is unpolluted.
Scenic; this river can be accessed by some roads but is mainly still a trail access river.
Recreational; this river has been developed along the shoreline and is easily accessible by roads, trails not necessary.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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