Salmonberry, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(IV) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||70 fpm|
|NEHALEM RIVER NEAR VERNONIA, OR|
|usgs-14299800||500 - 2500 cfs||III+(IV)||00h15m||10.7 cfs (too low)|
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!