Collawash River Upper Reaches to Clackamas River

Salem, Oregon

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The upper reaches of the Collawash River may be the most obscure and infrequently paddled section of river in Oregon. This is bound to change. This is a river with two distinct faces: one is calm and serene, allowing paddlers to revel in the canyon's awesome beauty while floating in crystalline green pools; the other is a romping, stomping maelstrom of big, pushy whitewater complete with huge ledge-drops, sloping falls, and tight, technical Class V rapids. Even though the road follows high on river right, the entire Collawash is extremely remote. Its banks are very steep and composed of crumbling basalt covered by thick growth. Hiking out would be no fun.

Collawash River: Upper Reaches to Clackamas River Professional Review and Guide

"The upper reaches of the Collawash River may be the most obscure and infrequently paddled section of river in Oregon. This is bound to change.

This is a river with two distinct faces: one is calm and serene, allowing paddlers to revel in the canyon's awesome beauty while floating in crystalline green pools; the other is a romping, stomping maelstrom of big, pushy whitewater complete with huge ledge-drops, sloping falls, and tight, technical Class V rapids. Even though the road follows high on river right, the entire Collawash is extremely remote. Its banks are very steep and composed of crumbling basalt covered by thick growth. Hiking out would be no fun."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Salem
Distance: 14
Elevation Loss: 1,000 feet
Skill Level: 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 Collawash River: Upper Reaches to Clackamas River

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May 2018