Crabtree Creek is located between the South Santiam River and Thomas Creek. It is easy to reach, enjoyable to run, and interesting, as the river makes the transition from mountain to valley. The upper 2 miles are tight and rocky. About 1 mile from the put-in, just past the confluence with the South Fork on the left, is an interesting class 3 plunge, worth a scout. The river sieves its way through large cobble-bar rapids in the middle section of the run, and the lower section has several large bedrock ledges that spice up the end of the run. Some of the rapids are fairly steep, and seeing the bottom of each drop is often quite difficult.
A heavy rain is needed to bring up the river to a runnable level. At bankfull flows, rocks and eddies disappear on the upper section and are replaced by large holes, great waves, brush patches, and trees. Cobble islands create blind channels that could dead-end in alder stands or possibly contain sweepers. Play spots are found everywhere on the lower part. Character: forested.
© Pete Giordano & the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.