North Santiam River Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park

Mill City, Oregon

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The North Santiam River is regulated by the Detroit and Big Cliff Dams above Gates. The numerous class 2, and several class 3 and 4, rapids make this run, known as Niagara, a fun and exciting stretch of whitewater. The two named rapids in this stretch are The Narrows and Niagara. The Narrows, class 3+ to 4, is about 0.8 mile downstream from the put-in. It is preceded by a class 3 entry rapid with a large eddy at the bottom on the right. The current continues on the left side and funnels into The Narrows, a 100-yard-long constriction with a large drop. The upper section has a large wave across it, followed by a diagonal hole, very turbulent water, and a good pool at the bottom. The exposed rocks are covered at higher water. At low discharges, experts advise portaging this rapid. Scout this one before running it. At lower flows, Niagara is significantly easier, but wood in any part of the rapid could be very dangerous. Always scout Niagara. Character: forested.

North Santiam River: Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park Professional Review and Guide

"The North Santiam River is regulated by the Detroit and Big Cliff Dams above Gates. The numerous class 2, and several class 3 and 4, rapids make this run, known as Niagara, a fun and exciting stretch of whitewater. The two named rapids in this stretch are The Narrows and Niagara. The Narrows, class 3+ to 4, is about 0.8 mile downstream from the put-in. It is preceded by a class 3 entry rapid with a large eddy at the bottom on the right.

The current continues on the left side and funnels into The Narrows, a 100-yard-long constriction with a large drop. The upper section has a large wave across it, followed by a diagonal hole, very turbulent water, and a good pool at the bottom. The exposed rocks are covered at higher water. At low discharges, experts advise portaging this rapid. Scout this one before running it. At lower flows, Niagara is significantly easier, but wood in any part of the rapid could be very dangerous. Always scout Niagara. Character: forested."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Mill City
Distance: 5
Class: Class III-V
Season: Best year-round; Flow: 1000–3500 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to North Santiam River: Big Cliff Dam to Packsaddle County Park

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May 2018