Difficulty III-IV(V)
Length 9 Miles
Flow Range 1000 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 54 minutes ago 107 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/15/2019 11:08 pm

River Description

This is a good run when the Umpqua is too high. This is prime steelhead spawning ground, so stay off the bottom.


This run splits conveniently into three sections.

Lower Three


This section is enjoyable at a wide range of flows.  From the take-out up, the bottom three miles to Scaredman Campground are visible from the road, you can easily scout on the way up. What you can't see won't hurt you. Make sure to boat conservatively if you are unsure about the current wood situation (though most of the run can be seen from the road).  Most of the creek consists of boat scoutable class III-IV boulder gardens with the occational bedrock feature.   

The exception to this rule exists just past the third bridge from the put-in, where a series of fun ledgey rapids lead to a large rapid that is often portaged.  At medium to high flows the left side is class IV, the right side class V, and the middle a bit harder.  At lower flows this rapid is often portaged.  This drop and the ledges above can be easily scouted from the road, and by hiking down a short ways to river level.   At higher flows, or with a tentative group, some may wish to get out at the bridge above the ledges to avoid the chance of running the large rapid by mistake. 

Middle Three

The middle three miles are away from the road and are class III-IV. Tentative boaters should have a guide who has done it before. This section is busy, remote, scenic, and fun. Put in at the "six mile bridge"  or go upstream a half mile to a wide gravel "no camping" area if you would like to run the last ledge drop on the Upper Three.

Upper Three

The upper three miles are class IV. There are two good ledge drops and a boulder garden with a surprise ending which should be scouted on the car ride up. These are not visible from the road. Below the boulder garden are several river-wide ledges which offer good playspots.

The lower ledge drop is just above "six mile bridge" about a hundred yards. You can sneak right or left or portage left.

The boulder garden with the surprise ending is one mile up from "six mile bridge" where road 25-1-2.0 branches off. Walk downstream a hundred yards or so and hump through the woods. There is no trail. Scout all the way to the end and make a plan to run or portage. The last pool isn't as easy to hit as it looks.

The upper ledge drop is 2 1/2 mi. above "six mile bridge" near an inconspicuous sign 24-1-36. Scout upriver of the wide spot in the road.

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 39 miles to Steamboat Creek. Turn left and go up the creek one half mile. Cross the bridge, turn left and park. The take-out is at the Steamboat gauge on the upstream end of Canton Creek Campground.

To get to the put-in: Go up Canton Creek Road three miles to Scaredman Campground; Use the boatramp above the bridge on river left. Three more miles to "six mile bridge". Three more miles to the confluence with Pass Creek where roads 24-1-26.0 and 25-1E-31.0 split; Put in below the bridge on river right.

Rapid Descriptions


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Priscilla Macy
3 years ago

On the Steamboat Creek@Glide gauge at a flow of around 2500 cfs, rising from 1200 to 3500 throughout the day a group paddled the large falls("P/U" noted in other trip reports) on the right side, and thought it was class V ish, with an alternative to run the far left side which felt more class III-IV-the middle of the drop looking heinous. There were no notable wood hazards from the six mile bridge down, and no portages. The creek could have handled more water, but would have still been fun with less-it felt like a medium flow I suppose. -Priscilla 2/4/17

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Thomas O'Keefe
14 years ago

We did this run in Jan 2006 at flows of about 1100 cfs on the Steamboat gauge (~3' on the paddlers gauge at the confluence bridge at the take-out). This was near the lower end of the range but still a great level. This run provides 10 miles of wonderful class III/IV rapids and is a good introduction to creeking. Be cautious of the approach to the big falls (just below one of the bridges) as there is a moderately challenging drop that leads to the pool above the big falls.

Gage Descriptions

Steamboat gauge is about three times what you will see on Canton Creek. About 1500 to 3000 merits a look at Scaredman gauge on Canton Creek.

Scaredman gauge is just below Scaredman Campground about 3 mi upstream from the confluence with Steamboat Creek. From 3.5 ft to 5.0 ft are good levels.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Priscilla Macy


john almassy


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1213220 07/08/19 Priscilla Macy updated image position
1213336 07/15/19 Priscilla Macy updated image position
1192517 04/23/02 john almassy n/a
1207207 02/06/17 Priscilla Macy
1212869 06/11/19 Priscilla Macy updated image position
1212868 06/11/19 Priscilla Macy updated image position
1211417 03/12/19 Priscilla Macy updated image position