The gauge is a ballpark range, view flow information at the end of the page to better dial in the flows.
This is an odd little section of stream mostly within the city limits of Dallas, OR. I won't suggest making a big trip to get to this stream, but for those who live in the area it is a nice resource for an after work/between class chance to paddle.
To get to the largest rapid, a short walk must be taken up Martin road. There are no tresspassing signs, but these are for vehicles only. Foot traffic is allowed up this road year round, and vehicle traffic is allowed during the month of November.
Hike past some houses on the left, you will be able to see the largest rapid (III-IV) of the run just before reaching a gate. Shortly after passing by this gate, a decommissioned road spurs off to the left. Follow this less than a hundred yards and find a way to the creek.
The run starts with class II bedrock before eventually steepening into the lead in of Butterfly Slot. Scouting from the right offers the best views, but is harder to access. The right side goes through a turbulent slot, the rest is over a four foot ledge. After this the stream eases back to class II-II+, be on the lookout for potential wood. There is a smooth bedrock slide with 25 cfs coming in from the left not too far downstream, ambitious boaters can carry up and get some serious speed coming down this slide.
Within 1/4 mile the stream goes under Ellendale road, an alternate put in for those not wishing to hike. From here into town the stream moves along with interesting class II+ rapids including some low angle bedrock slides and surf waves. Keep an eye out for wood throughout the run, usually there are not any portages but wood has been present in the past.
Eventually the stream will enter a pool and turn to the right. Here there are two class III dams that can be scouted from the Arboretum beforehand. Below these are a couple more surf waves as the stream meanders through the downtown park. Below the park boaters will find more waves and a couple more runnable lowhead dams, along with more easy rapids. Small surf spots can be found here and there along with a couple more low angle bedrock slides. The rapids cease just before the take out.
Gauge: There is a visual gauge just upstream of where HWY 99 crosses Rickreall Creek. This can be viewed from the walkway on the upstream side of this bridge. If there are 6 pink lines visible, it is too low, if you can only see 5 or less the run is in. Higher limits are decided by ability level and knowledge of the run. It has been run at bank full by people who know the run.
The Little Luckiamute estimate is helpful too. 300 is bare minimum to be considered "in", though desperate locals have run it down to 150 in rock or play boats. Maximum is user choice, but for a class II-III boater 1,000 cfs might be too high.
Directions: From Salem take Hwy 22 west, taking exit 16 (99W). Turn right (South) onto Hwy 99 and at the stop light find a place to park if you would like to check the visual gauge. The bridge over Rickreall creek is visible from this light and the gauge can be viewed by looking upstream from the 99 bridge.
To get to the take out from the gauging bridge turn West (upstream) onto Rickreall Rd at the light near the bridge. Turn left onto Hwy 223/Ellendale Rd and continue just over 1.5 miles to Fir Villa Rd and turn left (there is a flashing yellow light here). The take out bridge is about 1/2 mile down this road. **There are many other take out options in town including the aquatic center or City park, the take out described here is just the furthest downstream option**
To get to the put in return to Ellendale rd/Hwy 223 and turn left. Take Ellendale Rd for 4.2 miles and just before crossing Rickreall Creek again turn right, then make an immediate left onto Martin Rd. Continue to where this road turns to gravel and park before the "No Tresspassing signs". Either hike half mile up to the quarry or put in where you parked the car.
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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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