Elkhorn Creek - to confluence with Little North Santiam

Elkhorn Creek, Oregon, US


to confluence with Little North Santiam

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14182500 2000 - 5000 cfs V 01h02m 381 cfs (too low)

River Description

Check out the description, with pictures, in Jason Rackley's excellent Oregon Kayaking site

Using the same road OregonKayaking and the Dinsdale brothers used (NF - 201), we parked where a spur road branched off to the north about a half mile above where the Dinsdale began their descent into the canyon.  We encountered many wood portages in the upper region.  Things cleaned up a little after Big Twelve Creek comes in on the left, but the current wood situation resulted in continued portaging in the crux section.  There were a few fun rapids in here, but they were hard to enjoy as we were running short on daylight.  Razorback falls is indeed difficult to scout, best run center right, it’s the first horizon line after Crunch N’ Munch.  Dinsdaba's description is spot on, its a long day of class V paddling/adventuring.  We had 2,000 cfs on the LNF@Mehama, which we felt was about the minimum flow.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-01-26 01:00:02

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

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January 22 2015 (1455 days ago)
dinsdaba (156194)
We parked on a ridge road once there was access to the south, down towards the creek. We put in far
above Rackley, after hiking down ~1700 vertical feet over about a half mile. The hiking started
very steep, but gradually mellowed and we encountered no cliffs. This made for a 4-4.5 mile run.
Flow on the LNS @ Mehama was 4-5,000 for the duration of our run. At the put-in, this felt like the
low side of medium, but after the major confluences (around the start of the crux section), it felt
like the high side of medium. Character was continuous, with available eddies. Stay sharp for wood,
of course. The paddling was surprisingly full-bladed and fun. A noticeably steeper cascade with a
narrow line through pitons, shallow LZs and a nasty corner pocket (we walked) marks the beginning
of the crux section. The crux consists of about 10 big drops. Mostly they go; scout and portage
judiciously. We walked 3 of them, including Crunch 'N Munch, which is toward the end of the crux.
All in all, there was a lot of wood to contend with, but it was mostly manageable. The continuous
in-between and boogie water was also mostly fairly high quality and in the III-IV range. At the end
of the run, it felt like a looong day of paddling. We agreed that if access was better this would
be regarded as a classic. Class V for sure.

Associated Projects

  • Conservation System
    The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of BLM lands and rivers.