Difficulty II at this flow (II(III) normally)
Length 15 Miles
Gauge MCKENZIE RIVER NEAR VIDA, OR
Flow Range 600 - 12000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 11 hours ago 1720 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/18/2019 8:13 pm

River Description


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.

Playboat levels: 

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.

 
 
 

Rapid Descriptions

Finn Rock Boat Landing

Class - Mile - -54

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.

Mom's Pies Access

Class - Mile - -51.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.

Clover Point Playspot

Class - II+ Mile - -51.6

A fun little playspot just downstream of the informal put-in at Mom's Pies. It is just upstream of the Nimrod Bridge.

Eagle Rock Rapid

Class - II Mile - -51
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A fun class II down the left side.

Nells Rapids

Class - II Mile - -50.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Waves down the left through Nells.

Silver Creek Boat Ramp

Class - Mile - -49.9

Silver Creek boat ramp is located at Highway 126 mile 33.9.

Rennie Boat Ramp

Class - Mile - -47.9

This access is at a Highway 126 mile 32.2.

Brown's Hole

Class - II+ Mile - -46.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Run the easy line to the right and avoid it or run the meat down the left.

Ben and Kay Dorris Boat Ramp

Class - Mile - -45

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.

Marten Rapid

Class - III+ Mile - -44.8

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.

Prince Helfrich Landing

Class - Mile - -44.1

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.

Leaburg Reservoir Boat Ramp

Class - Mile - -39.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

At Highway 126 mile 24.7 there is an access at the upstream end of the Leaburg Reservoir.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

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Permits

NA

Directions Description


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

32.2 Rennie

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)

Date Flow Result Factor  
2012-06-17 n/a Fatality Cold Water Read More
2010-09-05 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More

Alerts

 

News

article main photo

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.

article main photo

FERC Rejects Application for Hydro on McKenzie

2/14/2008
Thomas O'Keefe

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.

article main photo

New Hydro Proposed for McKenzie River

2/6/2008
Thomas O'Keefe

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.

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clinton begley

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Thomas O'Keefe

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1205813 01/19/16 clinton begley Split into O to P specific section. Adding other sections to more accurately reflect difficulty and flow ranges
1205816 01/19/16 clinton begley updated listing and flows
1205826 01/19/16 clinton begley updated comment and difficulty
1208018 07/12/17 Thomas O'Keefe minor edit
1208016 07/12/17 Thomas O'Keefe reach moved to downstream reach so as to preserve mapped rapids
1208019 07/12/17 Thomas O'Keefe map edits
1213378 07/18/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1191320 04/22/05 n/a n/a
1195700 07/27/09 Thomas O'Keefe