Patterson Slough, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||5 fpm|
There is a small man made ledge about 100 yards downstream from the I-5 bridge on the canoe canal. The level and stickiness vary a little, but this is always a good place to go if you want to practice cartwheels or rolling, especially on a hot summer night. Probably not worth the drive if you don't live in Eugene/Springfield.
Also, the pool below the drop seems to rise throughout the summer, making the hole less sticky. In 2018, the hole had basically disappeared by mid-August.
It is also possible to make a run up or down the canal, either as a shuttled trip or even a loop if you utilize the Willamette as well. See below for details.
Located on a former side channel of the Willamette River in Eugene, this can be paddled either as a flatwater run by itself or as a loop by continuing down the main stem Willamette River (class 2) back to the starting point. The loop requires 4 short portages. Multiple put ins and take outs are available for those just wanting to do smaller segments of the roughly 2.5 mile flatwater section contained within the park. Canoes, SUP’s and recreational kayaks are common here.
To do the full Canoe Canal to Willamette River loop, start by driving into the main entrance of Alton Baker Park on Day Island Rd and put in anywhere you choose near the small bridge you drive over to get to the parking lot. By starting here, you are paddling against the current of the water but it’s a gentle current and makes for a nice workout. Paddle northeast just about until the canal ends and look for a portage sign on your right (Portage #1). Watch out for speedy runners when you cross the sawdust running path. During the next section you paddle behind the Cuthbert Amphitheater and come to a concrete chute/ramp just in front of Autzen Stadium (Portage #2). This little chute is runnable in a whitewater boat if you choose. The next section is the longest; paddling past the stadium, across a pond, and past riverside houses until you get to a small concrete dam structure near I-5 (Portage #3). This is the “24/7” splay spot. Continue upstream, paddling underneath I-5 and through a forested area where the current is a bit stronger until the channel comes to an end (Portage #4). A short walk with an obvious route leads you to the Willamette River, a welcome sight after all that flatwater.
This section has three class 2 rapids. The first is I-5 rapid, where the recommended route is far river right. A potentially dangerous concrete weir with several slots makes up most of the river channel here; signs are posted at river level for the uninformed. About 0.4 mile below this is a shallow class 2 ledge at summer flows, and 0.2 mile below that is the Autzen footbridge rapid, a wave train on river left. Takeout is river right just before the Peter Defazio footbridge, which is only a few minute walk back to the parking lot where you started. This loop is a good flatwater paddling workout which only requires one car and rewards you with a touch of splashy whitewater at the end.