North Fork John Day River Route 52 Bridge to Dale

Pendleton, Oregon

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This run high in the Blue Mountains passes through roadless terrain for 30 miles. Open canoes have run everything in this stretch except the short class 5 below Granite Creek and the logjams. The initial gradient is more than 100 fpm and completely free of pools and eddies. Fallen lodgepole pines block the narrow, shallow upper 7 miles about every 0.5 mile, requiring frequent boosting of boats over them. This water is class 1, 2, and 3 in roughly equal proportions. Downstream the river becomes a real delight with mile-long stretches of exhilarating class 3 water in the next 20 miles. After 30 miles, the canyon opens up and the gradient drops. Evidence of mining is seen along the entire river, with occasional miners’ cabins, camps, and old placer mining operations. However, below Oriental Creek, the river is less interesting because the 10 miles to Dale have been heavily mined and the scenery consists largely of tailings.
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 high in the Blue Mountains passes through roadless terrain for 30 miles. Open canoes have run everything in this stretch except the short class 5 below Granite Creek and the logjams. The initial gradient is more than 100 fpm and completely free of pools and eddies. Fallen lodgepole pines block the narrow, shallow upper 7 miles about every 0.5 mile, requiring frequent boosting of boats over them. This water is class 1, 2, and 3 in roughly equal proportions.

Downstream the river becomes a real delight with mile-long stretches of exhilarating class 3 water in the next 20 miles. After 30 miles, the canyon opens up and the gradient drops. Evidence of mining is seen along the entire river, with occasional miners’ cabins, camps, and old placer mining operations. However, below Oriental Creek, the river is less interesting because the 10 miles to Dale have been heavily mined and the scenery consists largely of tailings.

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

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Pendleton
Distance: 41
Class: Class III-V
Season: Best during snowmelt season; Flow: 800–1500 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to North Fork John Day River: Route 52 Bridge to Dale

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May 2018