Sandy River, Upper McNeil Campground to Marmot Dam

Portland, Oregon

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From its headwaters high on volcanic Mount Hood, the Upper Sandy River runs steep and continuous all the way to Marmot Dam. The upper river starts in Mount Hood National Forest below McNeil Campground, but soon leaves public lands. Though private property lines its banks, this rural river still has a wilderness feel. Forests line much of the river, so logs can present hazards - particularly in the upper section. The upper river from McNeil Campground to Zigzag is an advanced-expert run where a swim would be long and dangerous. The lower section picks up in volume below the confluence with the Zigzag River, where the Sandy River widens to present a good challenge for intermediate boaters. Nonstop rapids keep boaters entertained for the duration of any trip to the Upper Sandy.

Sandy River, Upper: McNeil Campground to Marmot Dam Professional Review and Guide

"From its headwaters high on volcanic Mount Hood, the Upper Sandy River runs steep and continuous all the way to Marmot Dam. The upper river starts in Mount Hood National Forest below McNeil Campground, but soon leaves public lands. Though private property lines its banks, this rural river still has a wilderness feel.

Forests line much of the river, so logs can present hazards - particularly in the upper section. The upper river from McNeil Campground to Zigzag is an advanced-expert run where a swim would be long and dangerous. The lower section picks up in volume below the confluence with the Zigzag River, where the Sandy River widens to present a good challenge for intermediate boaters. Nonstop rapids keep boaters entertained for the duration of any trip to the Upper Sandy."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Portland
Distance: 18
Elevation Loss: 1,400 feet
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Class: Class III-IV
Season: October through June
Local Contacts: Oregon Bureau of Land Management, 503-952-6001; Oregon River Levels, 503-261-9246
Driving Directions: Directions to Sandy River, Upper: McNeil Campground to Marmot Dam

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May 2018