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+ 00h54m 1240 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. 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).

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-04-29 02:14:47

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+Access

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.  Be alert after high flows because a log jam here would be difficult/impossible to avoid.

Turner Bridge (Class N/A, Mile -35.0)

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)

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 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.

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