Wilson, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||35 fpm|
|WILSON RIVER NEAR TILLAMOOK, OR|
|usgs-14301500||900 - 7000 cfs||III||00h56m||1850 cfs (running)|
The Wilson parallels Highway 6, a major state highway between Portland and Tillamook, and much of the river is visible from the road. The rock is basalt and the channels are mostly deep, with an occasional cobble bar section where wood can hang up. The Wilson is popular with fishermen and relations between fishing and boating populations have been strained: be diplomatic and give them lots of room. The character of the river changes a lot with different flows.
At 1,100-2,000cfs this section has good strong currents, nice fast ferries, eddy moves and attainments, and some excellent surfing waves and holes. It is one of the best class III skills runs in the region and would be suitable for slalom training. It's passable below 1,100 but the surf waves mostly disappear and one cobble bar gets shallow.
From 2000-3000 the surf spots are more powerful and the rapids develop significant funny water: wall shots with seams, boils and whirlpools. There are also a few large holes. While still runnable it is less useful as a skill builder and more of a survival run for the class III paddler. Above 3,000cfs and more it becomes quite continuous for long sections making the required skill level more like class IV.
The put-in is at Highway 6 milepost 22.6 at the Jones Creek Day Use Area. Turn off the highway and cross the bridge. The day use area is on the downstream river right side of the bridge.
There are several possible takeouts making it possible to do shorter play runs or a longer float. From 1100-2000cfs the run from Jones Creek to the Footbridge is a great 2+ mile play/skills run finishing with a scenic class III+ gorge (check for wood from a highway pullout while running shuttle). From 1400 up excellent play continues to Jordan creek making for a 4 mile run, with possible access on river left immediately below Jordan's confluence, or river right at the next bridge. There is more excellent play downstream from Jordan which is best developed at 3,000-5,000cfs and suitable for class IV paddlers in playboats. Continuing the whole 8 miles to milepost 15 means you won't have time to work every feature, but it's is a nice class III run for folks who don't play as much.