North Santiam River Packsaddle County Park to Mill City

Salem, Oregon

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This run is one of the more popular boating trips in Oregon. Riffles immediately below the put-in can be used to warm up. Turning the corner, the riffles lead into a small rapid. Following a pool is a fun class 2 rapid that leads into a narrow chute. It has narrow eddies on both sides and can be very turbulent. The next rapid finishes with an excellent play spot, referred to as The Swirlies, which is identified by rock formations on the left and a very large eddy on the right. The waves at this spot make excellent surfing. The runout is extremely turbulent, with small whirlpools and collapsing swirls. These Swirlies offer an excellent and difficult practice site for the ol’ river roll. About 0.5 mile after passing under the bridge at Gates, a series of bigger rapids begin. The last rapid in this series is Spencer’s Hole. Boaters generally choose between punching the hole on the right or sneaking on the left. At high flows, you will find several large waves and holes on the left. A pool awaits below this drop, and occasionally boaters take out here. A short, steep trail leads to a road that goes to Gates. Character: forested; residential.

North Santiam River: Packsaddle County Park to Mill City Professional Review and Guide

"This run is one of the more popular boating trips in Oregon. Riffles immediately below the put-in can be used to warm up. Turning the corner, the riffles lead into a small rapid. Following a pool is a fun class 2 rapid that leads into a narrow chute. It has narrow eddies on both sides and can be very turbulent. The next rapid finishes with an excellent play spot, referred to as The Swirlies, which is identified by rock formations on the left and a very large eddy on the right. The waves at this spot make excellent surfing.

The runout is extremely turbulent, with small whirlpools and collapsing swirls. These Swirlies offer an excellent and difficult practice site for the ol’ river roll. About 0.5 mile after passing under the bridge at Gates, a series of bigger rapids begin. The last rapid in this series is Spencer’s Hole. Boaters generally choose between punching the hole on the right or sneaking on the left. At high flows, you will find several large waves and holes on the left. A pool awaits below this drop, and occasionally boaters take out here. A short, steep trail leads to a road that goes to Gates. Character: forested; residential."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Salem
Distance: 6.5
Class: Class II-IV
Season: Best year-round; Flow: 750 cfs; 1500 cfs; 4500+ cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to North Santiam River: Packsaddle County Park to Mill City

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May 2018