Difficulty IV
Length 4.5 Miles
Flow Range 1500 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 36 minutes ago 289 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 09/11/2019 10:20 pm

River Description

Description:  This section of the Sandy is continuous and unstable.  The rapids are changing year to year.  The largest hazard is wood, which can make or break this run depending on the configuration.  The higher the level, the more fun the whitewater, but the more dangerous wood becomes.  Because of the ever changing nature of the riverbed a guidebook breakdown of rapids is not possible.  In general, the river is steeper with more interesting whitewater near the beggining before tapering off to class II-III at the take out.

Go slow on your first lap to get the wood situation dialed, if it turns out to be clean it is a fun one to cruise down for a second lap.


Put in at the bridge to McNeil Campground (or a little higher is possible) and take out at the Lolo Pass Bridge or roadside just upstream of that.

Additional References
Full description in Soggy Sneakers.



Rapid Descriptions


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Robert Cruser
3 months ago

5/24/2020 Ran it today with 2100 on Sandy at Marmot gauge and there was plenty of water, this is a well-padded Class IV flow. We put in a few hundred yards downstream from McNeil Bridge. If you don't know the run, it would be easy to blunder around an innocuous looking left-bend and into a longstanding batch of logs spanning the river about 1/4 mile in. This is an "island" so you can portage down the shallow right channel or bushwhack nearer the left channel. It may look tempting to duck the logs, but there are ill-placed rocks that are hard to see that have embarrassed a number of paddlers so not recommended. Besides that portage, we had 3 others, but overall it was remarkably clean and very fun. A few weeks ago, a group ran it at 1900 and thought it too scrapy. The level can be affected by where the water hitting the Marmot gauge is coming from. If it's mostly straight off the mountain it will feel higher for the same reading than if the Zigzag and Salmon are contributing more water.

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Opportunity for Input on Future Recreation and Stewardship of Sandy River, OR

Thomas O'Keefe

Four years ago AW signed the Settlement Agreement for the removal of Marmot Dam and PGE's Bull Run Hydroelectric Project. As the project is removed the lands will be transferred to public ownership. Paddlers and all who enjoy this river now have an opportunity to help develop a vision for future management of the river corridor including public access to the river and necessary stewardship.
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Oregon - Sandy River Basin Dam Removal Signed!

Scott Collins

Yesterday, American Whitewater signed an agreement to remove two dams in the Sandy River Basin that currently block passage for threatened salmon and steelhead. The agreement will preserve 5,000 acres of land and significantly improve intermediate boating opportunities in the area.
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Sandy River Found Navigable! (OR)

Jason Robertson

American Whitewater helped Oregon's residents win a major navigability victory on the Sandy River this week. Oregon's State Land Board ruled on February 5th that the lower 37.5 mile section of the Sandy River is navigable under Federal law.

Matt Muir


Jacob Cruser


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191337 06/11/04 n/a n/a
1199066 12/18/10 Jacob Cruser added description
1205417 11/03/15 Jacob Cruser micro edit
1204632 05/08/15 Jacob Cruser Added to description, updated gauge
1205478 11/23/15 Jacob Cruser updated Description
1209155 03/30/18 Jacob Cruser photo id
1212691 06/04/19 Jacob Cruser updated image position
1213634 09/11/19 Jacob Cruser updated image position