Little River, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||120 fpm|
|LITTLE RIVER AT PEEL, OR|
|usgs-14318000||800 - 2000 cfs||IV(V)||01h02m||162 cfs (too low)|
Flows: If you are looking for good whitewater, go on a day when the gauge is not going to dip much below 1,000 cfs. It can be done lower, but the quality drops off. If levels are not low, Little Fluffy will have a serious hole.
FS Rd 165 to Black Creek: Read the Trip Report from Oregonkayaking (this is what Jason refers to as the "Upper Three Miles") and decide if it sounds right for you. If this section looks low, the next section (below Black Creek) might still have enough water. The part above Black Creek is probably too low if the gauge is below 1,000 cfs.
Black Creek to White Creek Campground: The most classic section of the Little River is from Black Creek to White Creek Campground. If using this put in and flows are not low, it makes the most sense to put in on Black Creek (as opposed to the Little River). You can start the day with a narrow chute into the Little River, or portage on the left and put in just above a nice ledge below the confluence. Scout the situation from the bridges and the nose of land between the streams.
This part of the Little River consists of quality class IV rapids seperated by class II-III rapids and short pools at medium flows. There are plenty of eddies where needed, but the vertical walls give a more serious feel than runs of similar difficulty (i.e. Classic Opal, Copeland Creek, or Brice Creek). It might be nice to have someone along who knows the run or is comfortable with boat scouting if the group is apprehensive. Though it is possible to shore scout your way down. This nature keeps up for the majority of this section and makes for good kayaking.
The finale is a gorge with a clean 10' falls (Little Fluffy) followed by a ramp with a diagonal hole at the base. Little Fluffy is straight forward, with a nice boof platform, but has a hole that becomes serious as the flow increases. Scout, set safety and portage on the left. Just downstream of the falls is a walled in ramp that can be scouted on the left, but not easily portaged. The diagonal hole at the base pushes strongly into the right wall, running middle with a strong right stroke at the bottom worked well at medium flows (1,100 cfs).
As you exit this gorge, the stream eases off and its a short bit of floating down to the take out bridge at White Creek Campground.
Hot Tip: Continuing downstream to either the next bridge or Emile Creek adds another fun rapid or two.
In early 2017 there was wood present, but only three quick portages that were easy with obvious and generous eddies. One of these was early on, one was in the middle, and one in the final 1/4 mile of gravel bars.
Spring 2018 had 3 portages in the Black Creek to White Creek section, with 1 additional portage in the bonus section. See comments below.
CAUTION: At flows of 1240 and peaking on the gauge, the hole at the base of Little Fluffy was scary. The concrete defining the fish ladder was under water and not easy to distinguish from the river proper. The rapid snuck up quickly and eddies on the left were not easy to catch. The rest of the run was great at this level (Black Creek looked medium/low; Emile creek was low) - just be very careful about catching eddies high above Little Fluffy.
Video at 1240 CFS & peaking : https://youtu.be/kMIyLrsDz6g and
800 CFS & dropping: https://youtu.be/UTe8AtD1ZD4
Description and photos at Oregon Kayaking.