This is an ideal class III river. The rapids are closer together near the top and slowly get farther apart. Some kayakers like Horshoe Bend to Gravel Bin best, but anything above Susan Creek is good fun. The beauty is great, the isolation is good, the season is long. This river is best after the first heavy rain in the fall and lasts all the way to memorial day. After that the water starts down and the crowds increase.Description:
This run splits conveniently into five sections. Shorter runs are possible.
Before embarking on any section of the North Umpqua, check the guidelines on the BLM site to avoid conflict with fishermen.
The put-in is a little rugged for rafts. This section is more continuous and a lot of fun.
Boulder Flat is the usual put-in for rafts and summer runs. After Bolder Hole, the flat spots are a little longer. Be sure to stop under Marster's Bridge to play and again just above the Old Marsters Bridge abutments for the best spin spot. This section ends with a bang: Dog Wave, Puppy Wave, Happy Rock, Cardiac Arrest and Weird Weir.
This section is the busiest. About half way through you pass under Apple Creek Bridge. After the long flat spot comes a short lead in (Alligator) and then Pinball. Pinball is class IV if you have four complete idiots in a non self bailing paddle raft. It is a class III swim. Just before the take-out, at Island Campground, is wave city. Save some strength for this.
This has more flat water between rapids than the sections above, but some of the biggest rapids. Watch out for Bathtub at low water and Ledges at high water. This section is best in the spring when the water is higher and before the summer fish closure.
This is class II with long flat spots. Be sure of your take-out. Deadline Falls is easily recognized, but the climb up the rip-rap is rough for all but young kayakers. Deadline Falls is class V and I have it on good authority that the bottom is smooth and deep.
Deadline Falls to Idlelyd County Park (2 miles)
This section is for class IV-V paddlers and is more hazardous than the other sections described on this page. Putting in at the small pull out 1/2 mile upstream of the Rock Creek bridge gives paddlers one class III warm up rapid before Deadline Falls. Scout Deadline from the road before hand. It is prudent to also scout from river left once on the river. There is a sneak chute on the far right and a main line near the left side of the channel. This rapid has class V consequences in the form of a large, retentive hole. Below here are a few easier rapids before reaching the narrows. Here the rapid pinches down on the left through a turbulent passage. Scout/portage from the left or right. Around the corner is one more ramp into a hole. From here it is a half mile through a flat gorge to Idlelyd Park. Rock Creek comes in to the run just below Deadline Falls, this creek can be run afterwords or beforehand for a longer day if flows are adequate.
Shuttle: Road MapTo get to the take-out: Take I5 to Roseburg exit 124 and follow the signs to state highway 138 east. Go east past Swiftwater Park and plan to take out just upstream at Deadline Falls, or a little farther upstream at Cable Crossing depending on the size of your boat and how athletic you feel.To get to Susan Creek: Just past MP 28 turn right into Susan Creek Day Use Area. The river access for loading and unloading is straight ahead down the dirt road. Please park in the day use area parking lot after loading. If you plan to take out here, check the beach for recognition. It is inconspicuous from the river.To get to Gravel Bin: Most trips either start or finnish here. Continue up highway 138 to MP 40. The Raft Takeout is well marked.To get to Horseshoe Bend: Continue up highway 138 a mile past MP 46 and turn right on USFS 4750. Follow the river access signs. This is a good lunch spot for Bolder to Gravel runs.To get to Boulder Flat: Continue up highway 138 a half mile past MP 53 and turn left into Bolder Flat Campground. Turn right at the 'Access' sign. Parking is free if you do not take up a camp space.To get to the put-in: Continue on upstream about one mile past MP 54 to Medicine Cr Rd (USFS 4775). Turn left and left again onto Soda Springs Road. Take this road back past the dam to the power house. Just upstream of the power house is a poor trail to the pool above the tailrace.
Not sure if the links above were supposed to go to the segment descriptions I think Teresa was referencing, but the BLM has 5 of them fairly well described such as her favorite-
This would be more useful if each day stretch were listed as its own reach. I'm about to go there again as the LCCC does an annual N Umpqua weekend in the fall, and I'll take good notes. My favorite section is Boulder Flat to Horseshoe Bend for its beauty and for all the salmon that stack up there.
My group ran from Boulder Flat to Gravel Bin on 07-25-15. It was a great trip other then the IK'er who flipped in alligator thus swimming the entirety of Pinball. The flow was only 748 cfs so he escaped with only a dislocated rib. Pinball is a solid class III rapid with some -IV tendacies at the right flow. While I don't personally find a lot of challenge in many Oregon rapids having learned to boat in Idaho and an OR class 4 being an Idaho Class 3 I still respect the rating given. We would all do well not to underplay the potential risk of a rapid leading less experienced boaters to not appreciate the rating of a rapid because someone with more experience thought it was easy.
This one of my all time favorite class 3 runs. Long season, great water quality, easy access and some fun class 2 & 3. My favorite range is 1,200 to 1,800cfs. The waves are bigger and the water faster and that seems to be optimum for the waves above the Gravel Bin take-out. That being said, I wouldn't pass up a chance at a August 800cfs trip either. Be sure to look for the couple of fun playspots a short ways below and under the first bridge below the Boulder put-in.
I ran from Boulder Flat to Horseshoe Bend and from Horseshoe Bend to Gravel Bin on July 31 and Aug 1, 2005, respectively. CFS was between 730 and 700. It's a lovely river.
I would disagree with the above comment on this site: "Below 800: Class II all the way." In my opinion, a number of rapids should continue to be considered Class III at the level I had, including: Boulder Hole, Weird Weir, Toilet Bowl and the Froggers, Eiffel Tower and Pinball. And there is plenty of other II+.
Kevin Coutts, President Vancouver Kayak Club, Vancouver British Columbia
Controlled flow study of boating on the North Umpqua.
Letter regarding fire closure and request to reopen river.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
OC-2, North Umpqua
North Umpqua Road Map
Soda Springs to Gravel Bin
Gravel Bin to Deadline Falls
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