This run is hard to get when the gates are open and the flows are up. It is typical of obscure Oregon streams with class IV boulder rapids with bedrock here and there along with a challenging 50 foot waterfall near the beggining that has been run a couple of times. The wood situation is ever changing, but not too bad in 2015. The upper section seems to have more small diameter trees in the river, the lower section has less wood, but larger trees in the river. The section from Little Boulder Creek to the confluence with the NF Siletz is high quality boating, IV-IV+.
The best put in is at the confluence with the next tributary downstream from Bridge Forty Creek, just upstream of the falls. Alternate put ins are at Bridge Forty Creek, or bushwhacking in near Little Boulder Creek (Little Boulder itself is dangerous without good rapids near the confluence). If you are doing this run, time will need to be spent looking at maps and figuring out some of the access decisions for yourself.
Above Bridge Forty Creek the stream is very woody and not very boatable. Around Bridge Forty Creek the stream starts to show bedrock and has a few good rapids, the wood situation is hit or miss until you reach the next tributary downstream coming in from the right. Shortly downstream Boulder Creek starts flowing over solid bedrock, before bending right and roaring over Boulder Creek Falls. Scouting and portaging can be done from either side, but we found the best option was to eddy out left early. This 50 foot waterfall is difficult and dangerous, it has been run at least twice. The lines I saw were done starting center right, driving back to center left.
Below the falls the wood situation is better but still a factor. There are many class IV-IV+ rapids in this section. When the confluence of Little Boulder is reached the creek once again improves in quality, keep watching for wood. There is a "gorge" with two rapids below here that requires being creative to get around some wood, portages probable.
Once below the gorge we didn't need to portage anymore on our last trip, though there are still hazards. The class IV continues until a notable slide/ledge is reached with a 20 foot rock outcrop on the left. Below here there is a half mile of class II-III to the confluence with the NF Siletz.
The entire run is in a deep canyon, with the final couple miles being a special place, be sure to look up and around if you find yourself here. Manuevering at river level is reasonable, but hiking out would be highly challenging. Because of this, hiking downstream would likely be a better option than vertical egress should an issue arise where boating is no longer the best option.
Description and photos of the run at Into the Outside.
The headwaters approach, with an early take out is described at Oregon Kayaking.
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Boulder Creek Falls
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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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