Sandy - 3. Marmot Dam site to Revenue Bridge

Sandy, Oregon, US


3. Marmot Dam site to Revenue Bridge (Sandy Gorge)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 6.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm

Sandy River

Sandy River
Photo of Mike Long by Thomas O'Keefe taken 21APR06 @ 1160 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14137000 400 - 5000 cfs III-IV 00h18m 323 cfs (too low)

River Description

This section has a wide range of flows.  It has been run down to 200 cfs, but most people prefer it with over 1,000 cfs. 


This is an incredible piece of river flowing through a beautiful gorge right at Portland's doorstep. In October 2002 American Whitewater signed the Settlement Agreement resulting in the removal of Marmot Dam in 2007 and restoration of this river for fish, wildlife, and recreation. We are continuing to work with our partners to realize the full potential of this spectacular river as Bureau of Land Management develops the management plan for lands previoulsy owned by Portland General Electric that have been transferred to public ownership. This is a great run but it's a good idea to get recent beta from the locals as there are a couple spots where log hazards can create issues.

From the Marmot Dam site the river flows through straight forward whitewater until you come to '64 Logjam where remants of an old log jam still stick up from the channel and can occassionally collect debris. Many boaters use the trail that allows you to put-in just below this rapid which shortens the run to include the best section of whitewater in the gorge.

The river disappears into a magical river gorge with hanging gardens that drape down the sides of the bedrock walls. The first major drop known as Boulder Rapid will be obvious as you approach. You have a couple options (either down the left or the right) depending on flows, the current wood situation, and your comfort level. The right line is more of a boat scout or you can check out the left line from the boulders on river left. If you want to portage you can scramble along these boulders on river left.

Rasp Rock is the next significant rapid where the river rushes over boulders with some holes you'll have to negotiate. The river narrows down here and wood has been known to collect in the slots at the bottom of the rapid.

Drain Hole comes up next and if it's your first run, this drop is sure to make you a bit nervous. There is a generous eddy upstream of the rapid but the river appears to race down the left and disappear in the narrow slots between boulders. These slots have been known to collect logs. You can scout or portage from the gravel bar on river right but the line is to start down the left and then make the hard move all the way over to river right as you ride the current around on the upstream side of the boulders. The drop is easier than it looks but the hazard factor is significant so be sure you're clear on the line and what you need to do.

You will recognize Revenue Bridge Rapid, the last major drop as the bridge starts to come into view. Be warned that if you try to scout this drop from the bridge at the take-out, it will look a whole lot bigger once you're in the middle of the rapid. The gravel bar on the left gives you the best view of the drop if you want to scout. You have a couple different options depending on flows and how much action but the key is to figure out how you'll negotiate the holes in the bottom half of the drop. Once you make it through this rapid the take-out on river left on the downstream side of the bridge.


From Highway 26 in Sandy turn north onto Ten Eyck Rd. Follow this road 1.9 miles down into the Sandy gorge and the Revenue Bridge. This bridge is the take-out where a trail leads up from the river on the downstream river left side. Parking is extremely limited and local landowners have complained about the congestion--plan to meet and consolidate vehicles somewhere in the town of Sandy and be quick and efficient with your load and unload. Don't block driveways or tear up the shoulder. A few parking spots are available by heading back up the hill a few hundred yards to the intersection of Ten Eyck Road with Kubitz Road.

To reach the put-in continue on Ten Eyck Rd. another 0.2 mile and turn right onto SE Marmot Rd. Head 4.1 miles to the BLM access road at 48770 SE Marmot Rd. Turn right onto this road and head 1.3 miles down to a small pullout at a gated road (just before the barn). Walk a short distance down this road, cross the old canal, and then take the trail to the left that drops into the gorge. This access puts you in right at the start of of the gorge but it's a bit of a scramble down the bank. For the full run and easier access follow the BLM access road 2 miles from SE Marmot Rd. to its end at the Marmot Dam which is now managed by the BLM as river access. BLM has been working on site management and access and the last segment of the road may be gated requiring a 15 minute walk in.

Additional Information:

See the Sandy River Gorge page on Jason Rackley's Oregon Kayaking site.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-10-09 20:04:00

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 7 2017 (376 days ago)
robcruser (157924)
Ran it for the first time after last month's high-water event and found that the wood situation
noted in August has changed generally for the better. The wood on the left-side of Boulder is gone,
as is the wood at the top of the middle chute at Upper Revenue. The "skinny chute" at the cave a
few drops above Boulder may still have wood in it, but we couldn't tell for sure. However, there is
now a very easy slot just to the right of it, which I would recommend unless you know for sure that
far left is wood-free. At Drain Hole, there are a couple of logs criss-crossed vertically at 45
degree angles between the middle and right boulders. We had a swimmer here today, and at this flow,
he was able to kick-off the bigger one that sits in the current running along the boulders but this
could become very dangerous at higher flows, so take a good look at it before committing.
August 20 2017 (455 days ago)
robcruser (157924)
Ran this on August 19, 2017 and discovered multiple wood issues. They've obviously been there
awhile but haven't seen them documented and they are significant. Rapid with the cave on the left a
few drops above Boulder has wood solidly planted in the skinny left chute forcing a portage at low
water. Wood is spanning the center chute at Boulder at the undercut, and the right chute looks
worse than ever. Big chunk blocking the normal entrance to the regular middle run at Upper Revenue.
Upper Revenue too low to run now anyway, and looks like some high water will likely move it along.
January 28 2017 (659 days ago)
T4eresa (153294)
Neighbor Relations at Takeout: Paddlers' right to take out here is embattled as of the end of 2016.
Build friendly human connections when possible. The best takeout parking area is at the
intersection of Kubitz and Ten Eyck. Please refrain from aggravating the situation. Change and
urinate in private. Park closely to avoid the need to spread out down Kubitz Road. Avoid turning
around in their driveways. Avoid worsening the mudhole on the uphill side of Kubitz Road (the
takeout parking intersection). Do not park or load on Dusty Lane. If the water is high enough,
consider taking out at Dodge Park instead.
April 24 2010 (3130 days ago)
Ben HayesDetails
To find the put in take Hwy 26 west through Sandy. At the last traffic light in Sandy take a left
down OR 211 (?) towards Bull Run. The take-out is at Revenue Bridge, however due to landowner
issues it is best to park about 100 yds before the bridge on a road that turns off to the left.
After a lovely discussion (mostly about the aforementioned barista), the 4 of us crammed into the
cab of Mike's pickup truck and headed off upstream. Our original plan was to put-in above Alder
Creek, however after 20 minutes of drysuit stench in the cab of the truck and no-sign of a good
put-in, with the guidebook locked in my car at the takeout, we decided to settle for the put-in at
the Marmot Dam site. From Revenue Bridge continue on OR 211. The first right is Marmot Rd., take
that until a dirt road takes off on the right with lots of big official signs. The road winds down
to a locked gate. At this point we decided that the easiest way to the river was down. After some
sliding on a muddy slope, the kind of place where it is far to easy to imagine serial killers
dumping bodies off of the dirt bank. We just about dumped Dave, and his boat, off the bank, however
a sort of sketchy belay later, and Dave had made it to the river. The other 3 of us decided that we
did not in fact want to die by falling off of a dirt cliff on the Sandy River, so we made our way
back up the road and continued walking down to just below the dam site where we found an easy
put-in. The first couple miles of the river are easy class II with one woody class III that is
worth scouting on the right, you can see giant logs sticking out of the river from upstream.
Continuing downstream you head into a fun little gorge section with a few class III rapids and some
lovely overhanging caves. We made it past Sasquatch and his cohorts and had fun through Boulder,
the first class IV of the run. At the level we ran it at, the line was just to the left of the
biggest boulder, winding down through some other rocks. Next was Rasp Rock where there's a big hole
that you might want to paddle hard into. Half the group went right, the other half went left, and
we all survived so that just goes to show (?) We continued down to Drain Hole, a tight right turn
with a big sieve on the left, a move that looks hard but actually has a huge pillow on the sieve.
The final rapid is Revenue Bridge, a fun, but quite rocky rapid that is much bigger than it looks
from the bridge. We ran far right down the top section, then left at the bottom, skirting (or
getting chundered in) some quite large holes. The takeout is on the left at the bridge. more
pictures can be found at

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Associated Projects

  • Sandy River Restoration (OR)
    AW is working to protect the Sandy River Gorge and restore the river through removal of Marmot Dam in Oregon.