Molalla River Turner Bridge to Glen Avon Bridge

Molalla, Oregon

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This run is known as the Three Bears Run. At the minimum flow of about 600 cfs, it is a technical class 3; at higher flows, it is a more enjoyable class 3; and at high water, it becomes big class 4. Several 3- to 4-foot steep drops are visible from the road on the way to the put-in. When running the rapids, some eddy hopping is necessary to pick the correct route. Many of the runouts are riffles leading to the next rapids. For the first mile or so below the put-in, the water is fast but fairly straightforward. The first major rapids, Papa Bear, about 1 mile downriver, has two distinct parts. Another mile down is the most difficult rapid on the run, Mama Bear. The rapid starts with a boulder garden and some heavy water that leads into a fantastically picturesque gorge with moss-laden columnar basalt twisted into weird and wonderful shapes. The gorge is only 14 feet wide in places, and the water is deep, slow, and eerie. The next major rapids, Baby Bear, is another mile down. It consists of three separate drops. Character: forested; 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 run is known as the Three Bears Run. At the minimum flow of about 600 cfs, it is a technical class 3; at higher flows, it is a more enjoyable class 3; and at high water, it becomes big class 4. Several 3- to 4-foot steep drops are visible from the road on the way to the put-in. When running the rapids, some eddy hopping is necessary to pick the correct route. Many of the runouts are riffles leading to the next rapids. For the first mile or so below the put-in, the water is fast but fairly straightforward.

The first major rapids, Papa Bear, about 1 mile downriver, has two distinct parts. Another mile down is the most difficult rapid on the run, Mama Bear. The rapid starts with a boulder garden and some heavy water that leads into a fantastically picturesque gorge with moss-laden columnar basalt twisted into weird and wonderful shapes. The gorge is only 14 feet wide in places, and the water is deep, slow, and eerie. The next major rapids, Baby Bear, is another mile down. It consists of three separate drops. Character: forested; canyon.

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

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Molalla
Distance: 8
Class: Class III-IV
Season: Best in rainy season; Flow: 600–1000 cfs; 2000 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to Molalla River: Turner Bridge to Glen Avon Bridge

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May 2018