FLOWS: The level ranges above are based off dropping flows. If flows are dropping, this gauge is pretty accurate. Rising levels are hard to account for since the gauge is so far downstream on a much bigger river. If you leave the house with 8' and rising, you may have 15' by the time you get home at the end of the day. That said if flows get blown out, you are close to Lake Creek and can do some playboating as a backup.
Video from a high water day (well over 12')
Sweet Creek is located in the Oregon Coast Range near the town of Mapleton. It is a short but adrenaline packed run that is unlike most runs in Oregon, with gradient that reaches ~500 FPM in the crux gorge section.
The entire run of Sweet Creek is ~1 mile long, starting at Sweet Creek Falls and ending at the Homestead trailhead. The gorge section starts ~.3 miles from the takeout, and is what most boaters concentrate on, doing multiple laps in a day and utilizing the convenient hiking trail etched into the cliffs along the right bank to do so. If you do decide to hike all the way up to the base of Sweet Creek Falls to start the run, you will be faced with some chunky rapids for the first ¼ mile or so. After that, and before the gorge section, are a series of ledges which can be best described as a scrape-fest when water levels are manageable for the action downstream, and what Sweet Creek is known for. That said, they can be fun and they also allow you to get some boating in if water levels are too high for the gorge, or if there are people in the group that need a warm-up or aren’t ready for the steep stuff.
It will be pretty obvious when you have reached the gorge, as the bottom drops out below the eddy you’re sitting in. If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to get out and scout and/or set safety. The gorge can be broken down into two sections, the top five drops, and the bottom three. For reference, I will be referring to the drops as #1 through #8, starting with the top one (furthest upstream).
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Permits are not required for this reach.
Drive Highway 126 to the Siuslaw River Bridge in Mapleton (15 miles east of Florence or 46 miles west of Eugene). Just on the east side of the bridge, turn west on Sweet Creek Road for 10.2 paved miles. Then take a paved turnoff to the right to the Homestead Trailhead turnaround.
Battling with #5
Lead-in to #3
In-between a rock and a hard place
Avoiding the hazard
#3 from below
Airing out #4
Threading the boulder garden
Grabing the boof at #2
Left line at #5
Lead-in to #2
Good line on #1
The trashy stuff
Running the slide into #4
Lining up on #3
Getting the boof at #8
Dropping into #7
Bracing for impact
Joe hits the line at #6
Avoiding the hole at #5
Digging in at #4
Sliding into #4
Mid boof on #2
Going for the boof at #5
Hiking in for another lap
The Upper Gorge
Lofty on #5
Joe and #5
Drop #2 (from above)
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This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.
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