Imnaha - 1. Headwaters

Imnaha, Oregon, US


1. Headwaters (Deadman Canyon to Indian Crossing)

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 5.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 160 fpm

Inclination Gorge

Inclination Gorge
Photo by Matt King taken 06/19/18

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Imnaha River at Imnaha
noaa-imno3 2.70 - 4.50 ft IV-V 01h42m 2.1 ft (too low)

River Description


FLOWS: 500-1500 cfs is a good range to shoot for on this gauge.

A fantastic run on the SE side of the Wallowa's that is best run during Spring snowmelt. 

The run requires a solid hike of 5-6 miles either from Lick Creek Trailhead or along the river from Indian Crossing, putting in upstream of Moody Basin at Deadman Crossing.

The first whitewater is a smooth granite ledge with a powerful hole on the right at Imnaha Falls.  The rest of the run alternates between open and quality class IV rapids, mixed with a handful of quality class IV or V gorges that can and should be scouted before dropping in to them.  These gorges build in difficulty, peaking  at Inclination Gorge.  The rapid dropping into Inclination Gorge can be scouted and partially portaged on the right, or along a boulder field on the left.  In the heart of Inclination gorge, below the steep entry rapid is a sticky hole called Dog Catcher.  It can be snuck left at higher flows, at lower flows boofing from the main flow towards the left can work too.  It can also be surfed out of on the left.

A couple more fun bedrock rapids await below Inclination Gorge before a final narrows (with flat water) exits into a cool down meadow with class III boogie leading to the take out bridge.

This run is for experienced adventure boaters who are interested in and capable of sorting out river obstacles for themselves.  Some years there is hardly any wood to portage, while other years many of the major gorges could have wood.

Get an early start, and remember there is a trail along river left at varying distance from the Imnaha the whole way.

This is a contender for the best class IV-V kayak run in Oregon.


Trip Report from Into the Outside

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-19 00:44:07


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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