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.
One and a Quarter Miles: The put-in is a little rugged for rafts. This section is more continuous and a lot of fun.
Six and a Half Miles: Bolder 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.
Seven and a Half Miles: 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 (Allegator) 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.
Fourteen Miles: 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.
Six Miles: 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. Shuttle: Road Map To 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 Bolder 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.
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
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.
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.
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OC-2, North Umpqua
North Umpqua Road Map
Soda Springs to Gravel Bin
Gravel Bin to Deadline Falls
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