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The McKenzie River is runnable year-round
The McKenzie River is runnable year-round

Illinois River - Wild and Scenic River

Sections: Miami Bar to Lower Oak Flat, Class IV+
Length of Run:2-3 days, 34 miles
Location: Curry County, Oregon; Siskiyou National Forest
Maps: USGS quads: Selma (15'), Pearsoll Peak (15'),Collier Butte (15'), Agness (15')
Times Runnable: April and early May
Permit: Required between April 15 and June 30. Self-issuing at the Miami Bar put-in.
Reservations: Not required.
Restrictions: Open canoes are not recommended by the Forest Service. The maximum size of party allowed is 12 (Anne and I had a lot more people than that at our last party, so it's a good thing we had it at home). Firepans required. Pack out all trash. You must also carry PFDs, a first-aid kit, an extra set of oars, an air pump, and an inflatable repair kit. Members should stay in sight of each other while boating.

Gauge: Illinois River, near Kirby
Sources for Current Level Information:

  • National Weather Service, Portland; 503-249-0666.
  • How Reported: Cfs
    Interpretation of Levels: Minimum is 500 cfs, and high is 3000.

Sources of More Information:

  • USDA Forest Service, River Permits and Information, 14335 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-3735.
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, PO Box 1062, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • Sundance Expeditions, 14894 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-8508.
Best Guidebooks: Cassady, Cross, and Calhoun, Western Whitewater ; Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, Soggy Sneakers Guide , Garren, Oregon River Tours ; Interagency Whitewater Committee, River Information Digest .

McKenzie River - Wild and Scenic River

Sections: Finn Rock to Leaburg Dam, Class II-III
Length of River: Day trip, 18 miles
Location: Lane County, Oregon; Willamette National Forest
Maps: USGS quads: Blue River (15'), Leaburg (15')
Times Runnable: Year-round
Permit: None required.

Gauge: McKenzie River at Vida
Sources for Current Level Information:

Sources of More Information:

  • National Weather Service, Portland;503-249-0666.
  • How Reported: Cfs
    Interpretation of Levels: Minimum is about 1000 cfs; high is 5000.
  • Sources of More Information:
  • USDA Forest Service,McKenzie Ranger District, Willamette National Forest, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413; 503-822-3381.
  • USDA Forest Service, Blue River Ranger District,
  • Willamette National Forest, Blue River, OR 97413;503-822-3317.
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, PO Box 1062,Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • Sundance Expeditions, 14894 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-8508.
Best Guidebooks: Cassady, Cross, and Calhoun, Western Whitewater ; Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, Soggy Sneakers Guide ; Interagency Whitewater Committee, River Information Digest ; Garren, Oregon River Tours .

McKenzie River, South Fork - Wild and Scenic River

Sections: Near French Pete to Cougar Reservoir, Class III-IV
Length of Run: Day trip, 8.5 miles
Location: Lane County, Oregon; Willamette National Forest
Maps: USGS quads: McKenzie Bridge (15')
Times Runnable: November to May after rain
Permit: None required.

Gauge: Inflow to Cougar Reservoir
Sources for Current Level Information:

  • US Army Corps of Engineers, Cougar Dam; 503-822-3344.
  • How Reported: Cfs
    Interpretation of Levels: Minimum is 1500; medium is 2000 to 3000; high is 3500 to 4500.

Sources of More Information:

  • USDA Forest Service, McKenzie Ranger District, Willamette National Forest, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413; 503-822-3381.
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, PO Box 1062, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • Sundance Expeditions, 14894 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-8508.
Best Guidebooks: Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, Soggy Sneakers Guide ; Interagency Whitewater Committee, River Information Digest .

Rogue River - Wild and Scenic River

Sections: Grave Creek to Foster Bar, Class III (1 Class V--Rainie Falls; 3 Class IV--Tyee Rapids, Mule Creek Canyon, and Blossom Bar Rapid)
Length of Run: 2-3 days, 35 miles
Location: Josephine and Curry Counties, Oregon; Siskiyou National Forest. Note: Siskiyou National Forest no longer runs the private permit system. It is now operated by Medford District BLM.
Maps: USGS quads: Galice (15'), Marial (15'), Agness(15')
Times Runnable: Year-round
Permit: Required from May 15 to October 1.
Reservations: Permits and reservations are awarded by lottery. The lottery is conducted by a private contractor, Tioga Resources Incorporated. Lottery applications are accepted from December 1 to January 31 each year. Applications may be made by telephone (541-672-4168), by Internet, by Fax (541-440-0023), or by mail (TRI, PO Box 5149, Roseburg, OR 97470). A fee of $5.00 must accompany your application. Make checks payable to TRI or pay by credit card. Contact TRI for application instructions. You will need to specify a single launch date; intended party size; the name, address, and phone number of the trip leader; the name address, and phone number of the alternate party leader (optional; the alternate party leader is allowed to lead the trip if the party leader can't. Otherwise the trip is canceled.); and the party leader's signature or driver's license number (depends on the method of application). It is okay for every member of a prospective party to submit an application and doing so would increase your groups chances. However, you may submit only one application that lists you as a trip leader or alternate trip leader. Successful applicants are notified in early March. If you win, you will have to submit a fee of $12.00 per person when you confirm your trip.

Beginning the first business day in April each year, any unused or canceled spaces are given out by phone at River Information (541-479-3735). This call-in process continues until the end of the season October 15. Keep in mind that only about half of the spaces awarded by lottery are actually used; the rest are given away over the phone. For more information, contact: River Permits and Information, 14335 Galice Road, Merlin, OR 97532, Phone 541-479-3735, Fax 541-479-0535, E-mail: or110rr@or.blm.gov, Website: www.or.blm.gov/Rogueriver.

Restrictions: Maximum party size is 20. Only 120 persons are allowed to launch per day. Firepans are required. Pack out all trash.

Sources for Current Level Information:

  • National Weather Service, Portland; 503-249-0666.
  • How Reported: Cfs
    Additional Gauge: Rogue River near Grant's Pass
    Additional Sources for Current Level Information:
  • National Weather Service, Portland; 503-249-0666.
  • Interpretation of Levels: About 1000-1500 cfs is minimum; 6000 is high.

Sources of More Information: River permits and information, address and phone above.

  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, PO Box 1062, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • Sundance Expeditions, 14894 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-8508.
Best Guidebooks: Cassady, Cross, and Calhoun, Western Whitewater ; Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, Soggy Sneakers Guide ; Interagency Whitewater Committee, River Information Digest ; Garren, Oregon River Tours ; BLM and Forest Service,"The Wild and Scenic Rogue River" map/guide.

Further Comments: The Rogue is the most popular river in the Northwest, and justifiably so! The combination of warm water, dependable flow, and a wide variety of rapids make it an ideal wilderness training-ground for intermediate boaters.

Umpqua River, North - Wild and Scenic River

Sections:

  1. Boulder Flat to Horseshoe Bend, Class II-III
  2. Horseshoe Bend to Steamboat, Class III-IV
  3. Steamboat to Cable Crossing, Class III (one at IV)
  4. Idleyld Park to Winchester, Class II+ Winchester to Umpqua Landing, Class II
Length of Run:
  1. Day trip, 7 miles
  2. Day trip, 9 miles
  3. Long day trip, 16 miles, shorter sections possible
  4. 2 days, 26 miles, shorter sections possible
  5. 1-2 days, 16 miles
Location: Douglas County, Oregon
Maps: USGS quads: Illahee Rock (15'), Mace (15'), Glide (15'), Sutherlin (15'), Tyee (15')
Times Runnable: Year-round
Permit: None required.

Gauge: USGS gauge at Winchester
Sources for Current Level Information:

Sources of More Information:

  • National Weather Service, Portland; 503-249-0666. Stay on the line and ask for this one.
  • How Reported: Cfs
    Interpretation of Levels:About 1000 is minimum, and 3000 is high.
  • Sources of More Information:
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, PO Box 1062, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • Sundance Expeditions, 14894 Galice Rd., Merlin, OR 97532; 503-479-8508.
  • Oregon Ridge & River Excursions 119 Tioga Lane, Idleyld Pk., Or 97447; 1-541-496-3333; 1-888-454-9696
Best Guidebooks: Cassady, Cross, and Calhoun, Western Whitewater ; Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club, Soggy Sneakers Guide .

Further Comments: The North Umpqua is one of the most popular Class III rivers in Oregon. It's similar to the Tuolumne River of California, but not so difficult. If you run Section (3), be sure to take out at the cable crossing. Two Class V+ rapids are just downstream.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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