Difficulty II-III+ at this flow (III-IV normally)
Length 13 Miles
Gauge MOLALLA RIVER NEAR CANBY, OR
Flow Range 1000 - 6000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 74.8 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 5:02 pm

River Description


This is a great intermediate run with a fun sequence of more challenging rapids known as the Three Bears. The full run begins with a put-in at the Table Rock Fork (just above the confluence with the top Molalla) and continues on down through the Three Bears--Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear--to a take-out below Baby Bear. Of these drops, Mama Bear is the most challenging and leads you into a beautiful basalt canyon.  Throughout the run there are views of basalt formations making it visually fascinating for people from less volcanic places.
 
If you are interested in a shorter and easier run (class III), you can take out at Turner bridge and skip the Bears.  We call this run Table Rock Fork to Turner.  Alternately, at low water (below 1500cfs at Canby) when the TRF to Turner section is getting bony, you can launch at Turner and run through the Bears for the most whitewater in the deepest channels.
 
For an additional description and pictures of the run see Upper Molalla (Three Bears).
 
 

Rapid Descriptions

Alternate Put-in

Class - N/A Mile - -40
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

Horse Creek Canyon

Class - III+ Mile - -38.1
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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.  Be alert after high flows because a log jam here would be difficult/impossible to avoid.

Turner Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - -35
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

There are a couple of spots upstream from the bridge where it's easier to get to the water than at the bridge.

Papa Bear

Class - III+ Mile - -34.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Baby bear is a single drop between a large blob of basalt and the left bank.  At lower 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 run it down the left side or sneak it by going to the right of the basalt blob.

Goldilocks

Class - III Mile - -27.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Comments

Gage Descriptions

This gauge is located a ways downstream of the run at Canby so actual flows on the run will be less.

Directions Description


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 to river right 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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2002-04-14 High Fatality High Water Read More
2002-03-15 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More

Alerts

News

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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.

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Matt Muir

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Thomas O'Keefe

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Teresa Gryder

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191327 10/08/08 n/a n/a
1196574 11/19/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1196582 11/19/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1196575 11/19/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1197028 01/01/10 Thomas O'Keefe Added rapid locations.
1197030 01/01/10 Thomas O'Keefe update directions
1197039 01/04/10 Thomas O'Keefe add rapid
1201493 07/16/12 Thomas O'Keefe edits to logistics
1207078 12/28/16 Teresa Gryder
1209336 04/29/18 Teresa Gryder updated description, moved logistics info to directions
1211818 04/02/19 Teresa Gryder updated image position