Collawash River Elk Lake Creek to Bridge 55 Miles from Mouth

Collawash River, Oregon

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This upper section of the Collawash River provides some great scenery and fun class 4 to 5 rapids set in a remote canyon. Unfortunately, much of the first half of the run consists of easy class 2 rapids and several immense logjams. There is not much current in this section, so getting out of the river is easy. The river remains flat below the logjam until the canyon narrows dramatically and drops over a distinct horizon line. Scout this fun class 4 rapid from the left, and be sure to look downstream as a big class 5 rapid lurks just below. Scout this rapid from the left but portage on the right. The portage is a long climb over and around big boulders and many sharp rocks. After a steep boulder garden and a right turn, the river again drops over several steep ledges that make up The Churn. The first ledge is runnable anywhere, but do not get pushed downstream as the second ledge contains a nasty pin spot. At some flows, a good channel is available on the far left. Scout carefully. Below The Churn, the river has a couple other fun rapids before a second monster logjam that involves some creative climbing to get back down to river level. More good class 4 rapids dot the remaining distance down to the take-out at the highway bridge. Character: isolated canyon.
Soggy Sneakers: A Paddler's Guide to Oregon's Rivers

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Soggy Sneakers: A Paddler's Guide to Oregon's Rivers

by Pete Giordano & the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club (The Mountaineers Books)

This upper section of the Collawash River provides some great scenery and fun class 4 to 5 rapids set in a remote canyon. Unfortunately, much of the first half of the run consists of easy class 2 rapids and several immense logjams. There is not much current in this section, so getting out of the river is easy. The river remains flat below the logjam until the canyon narrows dramatically and drops over a distinct horizon line. Scout this fun class 4 rapid from the left, and be sure to look downstream as a big class 5 rapid lurks just below. Scout this rapid from the left but portage on the right.

The portage is a long climb over and around big boulders and many sharp rocks. After a steep boulder garden and a right turn, the river again drops over several steep ledges that make up The Churn. The first ledge is runnable anywhere, but do not get pushed downstream as the second ledge contains a nasty pin spot. At some flows, a good channel is available on the far left. Scout carefully. Below The Churn, the river has a couple other fun rapids before a second monster logjam that involves some creative climbing to get back down to river level. More good class 4 rapids dot the remaining distance down to the take-out at the highway bridge. Character: isolated canyon.

©  Pete Giordano & the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Collawash River
Distance: 6.2
Class: Class IV-V
Season: Best in rainy/snowmelt season; Flow: 500–1000 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to Collawash River: Elk Lake Creek to Bridge 5.5 Miles from Mouth

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May 2018