This upper Willamette strech is a fun summer run. Its easy access, predictable flows, and beginner friendly character make it a worthwhile trip. Hills Creek Dam to Black Canyon Campground is generally divided into two sections.
Hills Creek Dam - Ferrin (highway 58 bridge)
This section has most of the action along with the best scenery. From the put in bridge to Greenwaters Park you'll find some good class II action in a forested setting. The remaining rapids are spread out along the urban shoreline.
Ferrin - Black Canyon Campground.
Below Ferrin bridge you'll have a mile or two of flat water before reaching "Devils Kitchen"- easly identifiable by the green bridge just before the rapid. Below that the river gains in volume from the North Fork of the Willamette on river right. Another 5-6 miles of navigable class II remain. With some good side hikes such as: Bridge creek & Tire creek.
The guage mesures the outflow of Hills Creek Dam. The minimum outflow of the dam is 400, which is still enough for a raft or drift boat (in my opnion). Generally the objective of the release is to control temperature downstream, so as the weather gets hotter and dryer the Army Corps will release more and more water.
Take-out: From Interstate 5 take Higway 58 East toward Oakridge. At mile 27 you will reach Black Canyon Campground, which is the take-out for the lower. Fee's apply
Put-In: Continue upriver (east) on Highway 58. After mile marker 33, you'll cross the river (Ferrin bridge). On the left side after a bridge is a small dirt road with river access.
Take-out: Going East on highway 58, between mile marker 33 & 34 you'll cross the river on Ferrin bridge. On the East side of the bridge is a dirt road with river access.
Put-In: Get back on 58 Eastbound. 5.4 miles turn right on Kitson Springs road. 1/2 mile turn right on Diamond drive or FS road 21. Just before the bridge (1/4 mile) is river access with boat ramp.
Full description in Soggy Sneakers. Write up #78. Page 114
Check the outflow of Hills Creek Dam.
Or, visual from bridge -- if Hell's Gate Rapids looks runnable, the whole run should be fine.
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.
M.fork of Willamette. Devils Kitchen
Enjoying the View
Salmon Creek Slipper
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This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.
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