This is a long day of boating. It has been run starting from Elk Lake itself, but Hammertongue is really the beggining of the upper run. The run is not the usual kayaking trip in that while there is good whitewater, it is seperated by lots of manky rapids with some wood issues. Bring a rock boat and treat it like the adventure it is.
The final gorge can be run by itself and when all the drops are runnable it is a good section of whitewater. Be sure to scout the Whale Tail ledge and rapid below it before committing to the gorge because when the wood prevents safe passage, this is a very scary portage. The whole gorge can be portaged.
The gauge is far downstream, so factors like snowmelt can make estimating flows difficult. A visual from the take out bridge is really the only way to know for certain. Read the oregonkayaking.net trip report to get a feel for estimating levels. To run the upper section, 4000 cfs on the Three Lynx gauge is a reasonable minimum to shoot for. The lower run has been done with the same gauge reading just over 2000. Be careful at the upper range of flows, as the final gorge will get more challenging and dangerous. Portage on the left using the trail if need be, dropping down to creek level through a gulley or continue on the trail to the road.
Trip Report from oregonkayaking.net
Trip Report from Oregon Paddling
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