This is a great place for up and coming paddlers to learn safe creek boating skills. Follow the 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. Always be on guard for wood in the water as this is an area of active logging, heavy rainfall and intense erosion.
There are mile markers along the way. 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 less than 1 mile downstream. It cannot be see from the road, and 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 second ledge hole a short distance downstream also causes more than its share of swims. Both ledges are usually run far left, against the rock wall to avoid the holes, but scout or send a probe to be sure. It is possible to launch downstream from both of these ledges however the loggers have blocked some of the access with downed trees as of January 2019.
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. Most rapids can be scouted on the drive up. 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, try not to get caught in the first hole, then most go right or scramble through the left. In the very next tiny 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 last mile is a classic. The river drops nearly 100' here and has close to a dozen Class III Rapids. Several long boulder slides and medium sized ledges provide great action for intermediate paddlers. 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 ledge after the confluence, or float down past a couple possible playspots to the next bridge over the Wilson where there is a takeout trail on river right downstream from the bridge.
Over 8' this run is pushy.
Under 6' it is scrapy.
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.
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Last Mile Gorge
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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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