Santiam, N. - 3. Packsaddle Park to Mill City

Santiam, N., Oregon, US


3. Packsaddle Park to Mill City

Usual Difficulty II-III+ (for normal flows)
Length 8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 27 fpm

Spencer's Hole

Spencer's Hole
Photo of Spencer's Hole by Brent O'Neill @ 2000

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14181500 1000 - 9000 cfs II-III+ 07h17m 2780 cfs (running)

River Description

One of the most popular boating trips in the state with opportunities throughout the year. Moderate flows provide a great training ground for those just learning the sport. When flows are lower boaters flock to Spencer's for park and play. At high flows this river is a fun ride for more experienced paddlers.

Most of the rapids on this run are class II but with a variety of features that make it a great river for skill building and instruction. Once you pass under the bridge at Gates you are approaching Spencer's Hole. This is a fun rapid but as flows drop it becomes a very popular park and play spot providing dependable playboating opportunities through the summer and fall for paddlers from throughout the region.

Soon after Spencer's you will come to Carnivore which is found in the left hand channel at an island. If you are looking to avoid it you can just take the route around the right side of the island.

Continuing downstream there is some more good class II as you approach the town of Mill City. When you see the bridge come into view you are nearing the take-out. Mill City Falls is just upstream of the bridge and most scout it out before the run as it is easily visible from the take-out. You can take out on river right above the falls or line up for your run and take-out on river right downstream of the old railroad bridge.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-11-20 05:59:56

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-53.8Packsaddle Park put-inPutin Photo
-52.9The SwirliesII+Playspot
-49.9Spencer's HoleIII+Playspot Photo
-46.9Mill City FallsIII+Photo
-46.8Mill City take-outTakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Packsaddle Park put-in

Packsadde Park boat ramp

Packsadde Park boat ramp
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/10/07 @ 2650 cfs

A good boat ramp provides river access at this county park.

The Swirlies (Class II+, Mile -52.9)
Fun spot to work the current and play in the whirpools.

Spencer's Hole (Class III+, Mile -49.9)

Spencer's Hole

Spencer's Hole
Photo of Spencer's Hole by Brent O'Neill @ 2000

A great park-and-play spot.



Photo of Carnivore by Brent O'Neill taken 10/21/06 @ III

This rapid is located at an island so go left to check out Carnivore or just pass by on the right.

Mill City Falls (Class III+, Mile -46.9)

Mill City Falls

Mill City Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/10/07 @ 2650 cfs

A fun drop just before you reach the take-out.

Mill City take-out

Mill City Access

Mill City Access
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 11/10/07 @ 2650 cfs

The take-out in Mill City.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 7 2004 (5216 days ago)
Craig SeylerDetails
Usually runnable year round. Two major rapids: Spencers hole(III) and Mill City Falls(III). During
most flow levels the falls are more technical to the right with the center and left side more