Santiam River, North Fork Big Cliff Dam to Main Santiam River

Salem, Oregon

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The North Fork Santiam River is a popular destination for boaters at all skill levels. Only advanced to expert boaters should attempt the upper stretches below Big Cliff Dam, since two Class IV to V rapids (The Narrows and Niagara) present difficult portages there. The stretch of river from Packsaddle Campground to Mill City is a favorite for playboaters. Within it, Spencer's Hole is a fun rodeo spot at most water levels, with numerous waves to surf. Beginning and intermediate boaters enjoy the river below Mehama. From Stayton to Jefferson the water eases to mostly Class I with occasional Class I+ areas.

Santiam River, North Fork: Big Cliff Dam to Main Santiam River Professional Review and Guide

"The North Fork Santiam River is a popular destination for boaters at all skill levels. Only advanced to expert boaters should attempt the upper stretches below Big Cliff Dam, since two Class IV to V rapids (The Narrows and Niagara) present difficult portages there.

The stretch of river from Packsaddle Campground to Mill City is a favorite for playboaters. Within it, Spencer's Hole is a fun rodeo spot at most water levels, with numerous waves to surf. Beginning and intermediate boaters enjoy the river below Mehama. From Stayton to Jefferson the water eases to mostly Class I with occasional Class I+ areas."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Salem
Distance: 90
Elevation Loss: 2,100 feet
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Class: Class II-V
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Oregon Bureau of Land Management, 503-952-6001; Oregon River Levels, 503-261-9246
Driving Directions: Directions to Santiam River, North Fork: Big Cliff Dam to Main Santiam River

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May 2018