This is a great place for intermediate paddlers to develop creek boating skills, and for advanced paddlers to play to their heart's content. Follow signs to Jordan Creek ORV area off of Highway 6 in Oregon. Put in as high as water and comfort levels permit. The standard launch point is where the road leaves the creek though you can carry your boat upstream past a gate if you want more, or launch farther downstream if you wish to avoid the ledges. Always be on guard for wood in and above the water as this is an area of active logging, heavy rainfall and intense erosion.
There are mile markers along the road. Above mile 6.5 is a rare vein of Granite in an otherwise Basalt canyon. Class V rapids and a very steep gradient above this point. A difficult seal launch into a pool below the granite leads paddlers into a mini gorge with short drops.
A significant ledge with a narrow channel on the left occurs a short distance downstream from the end-of-road launch. If you know where it is you can scout it on the shuttle but you will need to climb out of the cars to get a good view. This ledge creates a dangerous pocket hydraulic on the right at medium to high flows. It also bends around a left wall so that people coming downstream cannot really see what happened to the person who just went. This one definitely collects wood and it is tricky to scout and portage. Sometimes there is a 1-2 boat eddy above the ledge on the right. It's very nice to have someone out of their boat on the right here to signal and pull people out of the hole.
A similar second ledge hole a short distance downstream also causes more than its share of swims. Both ledges are best run far left, against the rock wall to avoid the holes, but scout to be sure. It is possible to launch from a campsite downstream from both of these ledges.
Next there is a short gorge with several stout III's in a row, then long stretches of Class II water punctuated by an occasional III. The lowest launch is immediately above this short gorge. After the first overhead bridge there is a narrow hole that needs to be punched, stoutest at medium water. Worth a scout on the way up is the "Bridge Rapid" which is visible from the road and detectable by a bridge right over the rapid. Enter either left or right, and see if you can avoid being typewritered left in the first hole. Most go right at the bottom but the left goes too.
In the very next minor rapid there is a rock that looks like it would be an incredible boof but it is a volcanic boat shredder: you have been warned.
The twosy whitewater continues until you reach Butcher's Block, an easy III just upstream from another bridge over the river. The flat topped rock on river right in this rapid is used by locals as a gauge: when the water is sheeting over the top, the flow is prime. (You can see this rock on the drive up.) There are a couple more 3's mixed in then you hit the final gorge which is prettier than it is difficult. Many horizons keep the intermediate paddlers on their toes, but the lines are big and obvious. The last mile is a classic. The river drops nearly 100' here and has close to a dozen Class III Rapids. At the first significant drop in this section the river builds from Class II into fast Class III with a large pillow rock in the middle at the bottom--go either way. A fun set of rapids follows with riverwide horizons and straightforward lines. Only at high flows will you find significant holes in there, and they are not in the main lines which are quite clean. This section develops some nice playspots at higher flows. A final 3' ledge drops paddlers onto the most likely swollen Wilson, which is like an ocean after Jordan Creek.
Take out in the first eddy on the left after the confluence, or play your way down the Wilson a short distance to the next bridge (Cedar Butte Road) where there is a takeout trail on river right downstream from the bridge.
Flows vary relative to the Tillamook gauge reading because Jordan creek rises and falls faster than the main Wilson. In general you can expect Jordan to be pushy when the Wilson gauge is over 8’, and Jordan is likely to be scrapy when the Wilson is under 6’. This creek is horrible when the water is too low: it does not channelize.
There's a lot of small wood in Jordan right now but it is all passable without getting out of your boat. About 15-20 minutes downstream from the lower launch there's an alder in easy water that you'll need to bump over. After that there are several pieces of wood that look bad from above but are passable on the left. Always check for yourself and scout on the drive up because the coastal range is notorious for its woodiness and changeability.
The Tillamook Gauge is on the Wilson River, 11.5 miles downstream from the Jordan Creek confluence. A lower flow at Tillamook with rising water will likely show more water in Jordan than a higher reading with falling water. The guidebook says a minimum of 7' is needed for Jordan Creek. However having run it at 6.25 and rising and finding near flood conditions, be sure this is only a generalzation. It has been run as low as 5' and higher than 10'.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Last Mile Gorge
Final Mile Entrance
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!