Molalla - 2) Table Rock Fork to Glen Avon Bridge (3 Bears)

Molalla, Oregon, US


2) Table Rock Fork to Glen Avon Bridge (3 Bears)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (varies with level)
Length 13 Miles

Mama Bear

Mama Bear
Photo of Megi Morishita by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 12/31/09 @ 1000 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14200000 1000 - 6000 cfs II-III+ 00h35m 1460 cfs (running)
Baby bear can be sticky at med/low flows.

River Description

This is a great intermediate run with a fun sequence of more challenging rapids known as the Three Bears. To hit the highlights of the best whitewater put-in at the Table Rock Fork (just above the confluence with the top Molalla) and continue on down through the Three Bears--Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear--and take-out below Baby Bear. Of these drops, Mama Bear is the most challenging and leads you into a beautiful basalt canyon.
See Upper Molalla (Three Bears) on Oregonkayaking for additional description and pictures of this run.
At the Methodist Church at the eastern edge of town on the Woodburn-Estacada Highway (Highway 211) turn onto S. Mathias Road. In 0.2 mile head to the left onto Feyrer Park Road. Take this 1.6 miles to the bridge across the Molalla River at Feyrer Park.
From Feyrer Park, cross the river and turn right headed upstream along river right on Dickey Prairie Road. Follow this road 5.3 miles to the Glen Avon Bridge (you will reach it shortly after you cross the North Fork). A pull-out approximately 0.2 mile upstream of the bridge on river right provides take-out access.
To reach the put-in, cross the Glen Avon Bridge to head upstream on river left. From the bridge, you will find an alternative take-out at a pull-out below the Three Bears in 4.5 miles. At 8.2 miles you cross the river and there is an access at mile 8.4 that provides a put-in just upstream of the Three Bears. At the fork in the road at mile 11.1 stay left and at mile 12.7 cross the Table Rock Fork. When you are 13.0 miles from the Glen Avon Bridge you will reach a pull-out, the upper put-in, from where it is a short hike down to the river.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-12-28 23:29:19

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-40.0Alternate Put-inN/APutin
-38.1Horse Creek CanyonIII+
-35.0Turner BridgeN/AAccess
-34.4Papa BearIII+
-33.7Mama BearIV
-32.1Baby BearIII+

Rapid Descriptions

Alternate Put-in (Class N/A, Mile -40.0)

An alternate put-in on the Table Rock Fork just upstream of B Ranch.

Horse Creek Canyon (Class III+, Mile -38.1)

The river drops away and into a narrow gorge, and it looks from above like there's going to be something wild in there, but it's generally benign.  Just some crashing waves and swirlies, and a pretty gorge below.

Papa Bear (Class III+, Mile -34.4)

When you look down at this rapid from the road you cannot see how much it drops because you are above it.  The lines are not hard, and there are no exceptional hazards, but it has two blind horizons and it is long, making swims long and potentially unpleasant.

Mama Bear (Class IV, Mile -33.7)

Mama bear bear accelerates toward a horizon line with a tongue, hole and boof to choose from, then explodes through a rock pile.  After the bouldery part it narrows down between basalt walls and stays narrow for a while without eddies.  Swimmers be patient.

Baby Bear (Class III+, Mile -32.1)

Baby bear is a single drop between a large blob of basalt and the left bank.  At some flows it has a sticky pocket hole on the right.  It's roadside and easy to scout on the ride up.  At higher flows you can sneak it by going to the right of the basalt blob.

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