With a long season, convenient access to Eugene, great scenery, and a couple great playspots this is the most popular section of the river. It's a great river to learn on as those new to the sport can follow a guide down more conservative lines while experienced paddlers can enjoy a number of fun playspots.
2.4-2.9 ft is ideal for Neil's Wave, it can be caught on the fly higher, but tends to wash out, and eddy service gets lost.
The very top hole in Clover is fun when low, other waves come in below the main river right wave as the level comes up. 3.5+ always has something surfable there.
The run from Finn Rock down to Prince Helfrich Landing is a great day trip. Several access points provide a diversity of options including park and play at Clover Point. Many kayakers enjoy the Mom's Pies run which starts at the informal access at Mom's Pies just above Clover Point and takes in the best playspots on the run. The most challenging rapid on this section is Marten Rapid which is a solid class III at medium flows and the most challenging drop on the run. You can always take-out above this rapid at Ben and Kay Dorris State Park. Prince Helfrich Landing is located just after this rapid.
Access: Finn Rock is the main put-in and works well for rafts. To reach this access head to Highway 126 mile 37.9 and turn onto Quartz Creek Road which takes you across the bridge to river left. A good ramp is available on the upstream river left side of the bridge.
The take-out just below Marten Rapid is Prince Helfrich Landing. It is reached by driving to Highway 126 mile 38.5 and then turning onto Thomson Ln. which heads down to the river. You can recognize it from the river by the suspension bridge across the river.
Finn Rock is a popular access point for a day trip on the McKenzie. The access works well for rafts. To reach this access head to Highway 126 mile 37.9 and turn onto Quartz Creek Road which takes you across the bridge to river left. A good ramp is available on the upstream river left side of the bridge.
This informal access is used by kayakers who want to put-in just upstream of Clover Point. It can be used for park and play or you can do a short run to one of the access points downstream.
A fun little playspot just downstream of the informal put-in at Mom's Pies. It is just upstream of the Nimrod Bridge.
A fun class II down the left side.
Waves down the left through Nells.
Silver Creek boat ramp is located at Highway 126 mile 33.9.
This access is at a Highway 126 mile 32.2.
Run the easy line to the right and avoid it or run the meat down the left.
This access can be used as a take-out if you don't want to run Marten Rapid which is the biggest rapid on this lower section of the McKenzie. It is located at Highway 126 mile 29.1.
This is a great class III rapid that is the highlight of the run for those with skills to do so safely. An alternative take-out for those who don't want to run this drop is available just upstream at Ben and Kay Dorris State Park.
This is a popular take-out for one of the better whitewater sections on the McKenzie and is just below Marten Rapid. It is reached by driving to Highway 126 mile 38.5 and then turning onto Thomson Ln. which heads down to the river. You can recognize it from the river by the suspension bridge across the river.
At Highway 126 mile 24.7 there is an access at the upstream end of the Leaburg Reservoir.
1 year ago
by Thomas O'Keefe
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
There are a number of access points along the McKenzie River. Heading upstream from Eugene on Highway 126 the access points are indicated by highway mile marker as follows:
11.6 Hendricks Park
23.9 Leaburg Dam
24.7 Access at the upstream end of Leaburg Reservoir
28.5 Helfeich (requires a short drive down Thomson Lane)
29.1 Ben and Kay Dorris State Park
33.9 Silver Creek
35.7 Mom's Pies (an informal access used by kayakers)
37.9 Find Rock (take Quartz Creek Road and cross the river to river left)
40.9 Forest Glen
43.8 access ramp
45.6 access ramp
49.8 McKenzie Bridge Campground
51.8 day use site with access
54.1 Paradise Campground
As you continue past Paradise the road mileage markers change but it's 7.6 miles from Paradise to Ollalie.
17.1 access ramp
13.0 Ollalie Campground (drive 0.5 mile downstream to the access ramp)
Prince Helfrich Landing
C2 through Marten Rapid
Ben and Kay Dorris State Park Boat Ramp
Rennie Public Boat Landing
Silver Creek Boat Landing
Rafting on the McKenzie
Finn Rock Boat Landing
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.
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.
Late yesterday FERC issued a letter rejecting the Preliminary Permit Application for the McKenzie River Hydro Project by Principle Power Hydro. In the letter FERC stated that the application "patently fails to conform to the Commission's regulations" and went on to cite several deficiencies with the application.
Last month Principle Power Hydro based in San Francisco filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit to develop a series of 9 hydropower projects on the McKenzie River outside of Eugene, OR. These projects would be constructed on the reach from Paradise Campground to Leaburg Dam.
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!