The Salmonberry River is an approximately 10 mile whitewater run that is known for its great rapids, beautiful scenery, excellent water quality, and remote backcountry character.
Mention the Salmonberry and paddlers start to buzz quietly like bees. This is one that alludes many paddlers due to the need for a high water/rain event, combined with the rugged road to the put-in making the shuttle logistics an adventure in itself. Four wheel drive, high clearance, and good directions are key just to make it to the put-in.
Once at the river, paddlers are in for a treat. The lichen-covered trees provide classic northern Oregon Coast range scenery while the rapids provide continuous entertainment.
Chew Chew (class IV) is the most challenging rapid on the run. Chew-Chew(Class 4), is about 0.5 miles downstream just after Bathtub Creek enters on the left. Chew-Chew begins with a steep drop over some boulders and finishes with a few pushy waves and holes. Most people choose to punch several holes on the far left or boof the large boulder in the center. Scout/portage on the right. Our group scouted/portaged from the left, and most of the group ran the left line.
Below Chew-Chew the river continues through several fun Class 3-3+ rapids until it gradually flattens out. There are some great views of the canyon in this section. The rapids pick up again as boaters approach the take-out. Take-out under the road bridge on river-right or farther downstream on the right at the railroad bridge.
It is remarkable (and somewhat terrifying) to see the railroad running along the river's edge and, at times, falling into the river bed. A historic treasure along the river!
Letter to ORPRD re: Salmonberry Corridor Master Plan
When the Wilson Gauge is above 3000-4000 cfs, Salmonberry should be good to go.
Permits are not required for this reach.
To reach the put-in, take Salmonberry Road south from Hwy. 26. Salmonberry Road is about 0.5 miles west of milepost 30. Stay straight at the 4-way intersection about 1.2 miles from Hwy. 26. Turn left at the sharp turn about 4.4 miles from the highway. Turn left at the 3-way intersection just over 8.5 miles from the highway and after about a mile begin the long descent to the river down Beaver Slide Road.
The take-out is along the Nehalem River road at the Salmonberry confluence. Turn south about 0.75 miles west of milepost 21 on Hwy. 26 and continue south along the river to the bridge over the Salmonberry River.
Beautiful, rugged scenery on Salmonberry River
Rafters at Beaver Slide Rd. put-in
Rafters running Chew-Chew
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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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