Difficulty III-IV
Length 7.5 Miles
Gauge HOOD RIVER AT TUCKER BRIDGE, NEAR HOOD RIVER, OR
Flow Range 4.20 - 5.70 FT
Flow Rate as of: 39 minutes ago 2.93 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/18/2019 7:51 pm

River Description


The run is known as one of the best intermediate to advanced whitewater runs in the Columbia Gorge and its no wonder so many paddlers call Hood River home with this river in their back yard. The river corridor, although largely in private ownership, is nearly completely undeveloped as bedrock walls of columnar basalt rise up from the river to the forested canyon rim. While most of the run is class III, it finishes off with some more challenging class IV. Although these final rapids are relatively straightforward class IV at moderate flows and a good place to learn to boat more advanced whitewater, things crank up a notch as flows rise. Stories of epic high water runs at flood stage circulate among the Hood River boating community.

The section of the Hood known as Dee to Tucker typically starts out with a fun mile of whitewater on the East Fork Hood that ends with Confluence Rapid. An alternative is to put in at the base of Punch Bowl Falls on the West Fork Hood.

At standard flows, the 5 miles downstream from the confluence of the east and west fork is enjoyable and nearly continuous action with class II whitewater interspersed with a number of fun class III rapids. The scenery and quality of the whitewater are simply spectacular and draw paddlers from across the region. Early in this section and soon after passing the intake for the Farmer's Irrigation Canal, you will come to Aquaduct Rapid (aka Pipeline). The upper drop takes you down the left against a bedrock wall and the lower drop includes the best surf spot on the run.

As you near the end of the run, you will come to a green truss bridge that carries a waterline across the river. This marks the start of the class IV rapids and the first one, Island Rapids, is a long one down the river right channel. Immediately below this drop the river slams into Wallbanger, a head wall rapid on river left. A few more fun class IV rapids continue as you pass Tucker County Park on river right and eventually arrive at the Tucker Bridge. 

While kayakers who are just doing the upper run take out here, access is challenging for rafters who often just continue on with the next run down to the Columbia River.

Logistics: Access for this run has always been a little bit of a challenge and it would likely be more popular with rafters if the issues could be solved. The traditional put-in access has been on the downstream river left side of the Dee Bridge, but this is private property as access within the bridge right-of-way is not practical.

Upstream of the bridge the river is in a steep gorge and an old dam creates a hazard that generally precludes access upstream (Hood River County owns the land on river right at the Dee Highway Bridge across the East Fork Hood which could serve as a put-in if not for the hazards of the dam site).

Kayakers have been using the street end at Iowa Street just downstream of the Dee Bridge on river right. Parking is limited however (please don't park in the private open space adjacent to the street end). From the street end you walk about 10 yards downstream and follow a steep trail down into the gorge. This access puts you in just upstream of the last rapid on the East Fork Hood before the confluence.

For the take-out, you can exit the river at Tucker Park but good whitewater continues all the way down to the Tucker Bridge. Another issue with the park is the road into the park is gated during the winter boating season although you can park outside the gate. You can exit the river at the USGS gage station downstream river right of the Tucker Bridge where a trail switchbacks up below the bridge. Parking is limited however. You may be able to park a shuttle vehicle at the Apple Valley Country Store if you buy a round of huckleberry shakes or BBQ after your run. Alternatively, there are a couple spots along the highway shoulder on the upstream river right side of the bridge.

Rapid Descriptions

Old Dam Site

Class - N/A Mile - -13.7

Remnants of an old dam that has hazardous debris and a tendency to collect wood. For this reason most prefer putting in downstream.

Iowa Street Access

Class - N/A Mile - -12.4

An alternative access from the end of Iowa Street that avoids private property issues at Dee but has limited parking.

Confluence Rapid

Class - III+ Mile - -12.2

A fun drop at the confluence of the east and west forks of the Hood River.

Aquaduct Rapids

Class - III+ Mile - -10.8

The upper half of the rapid flows down river left. After passing under the aquaduct, you will enter the lower half which has a sweet surfing wave with decent eddy service.

Island Rapids

Class - IV Mile - -7.4

The start of the class IV rapids that continue on down to Tucker Bridge. The first one is the longest.

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News

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Oregon Waterway Access Bill Set to Become Law

6/10/2019
Priscilla Macy

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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Punchbowl Falls Funding Secured (OR)

7/1/2015
Thomas O'Keefe

A vision more than a century in the making is about to become reality with last week’s decision by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission to approve the grant for the acquisition of Punchbowl Falls and the property at the confluence of the West and East Forks of the Hood River.

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Opportunity to Determine Future of Punch Bowl Falls on the Hood River (OR)

1/22/2015
Thomas O'Keefe

Punch Bowl Falls is one of Oregon’s iconic scenic and recreational sites on the Hood River in the Columbia Gorge. At the confluence of the east and west forks of the Hood River, the site has been privately owned and its future remains to be determined. Our goal is to see the site become a public park and we encourage the boating community to join that discussion.

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AW Joins Effort to Protect Punch Bowl Falls (OR)

7/10/2012
Megan Hooker

This summer, American Whitewater has joined a campaign to raise funds to protect Mt. Hood's Punch Bowl Falls in Oregon. We're asking the paddling community to step up in support of this project!

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New Wild and Scenic Rivers Proposed for Oregon

4/1/2008
Thomas O'Keefe

Today Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced their plan for increasing Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon this year. Their vision includes adding 79.6 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers on the Mt. Hood National Forest and 142.9 miles of tributaries to the Lower Rogue Wild and Scenic River.

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Mt. Hood (OR) Wilderness Proposal, Another Step Forward

9/6/2006
Thomas O'Keefe

This past week Oregon Senators Wyden and Smith introduced their Wilderness proposal for Mt. Hood. The proposal would designate more than 125,000 acres as Wilderness and designate approximately 80 miles of rivers as Wild and Scenic.
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Matt Muir

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Thomas O'Keefe

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Zachary W Collier

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191309 01/22/02 n/a n/a
1201476 07/12/12 Thomas O'Keefe photo added
1199344 02/27/11 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1199390 02/28/11 Thomas O'Keefe access update
1201434 06/28/12 Zachary W Collier Started to Update Copy
1212662 06/04/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1204045 01/25/15 Thomas O'Keefe minor edits
1213373 07/18/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position