Nehalem - 1) Upper Nehalem to Vernonia

Nehalem, Oregon, US


1) Upper Nehalem to Vernonia

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 10 Miles
Avg. Gradient 12 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14299800 4.80 - 6.40 ft I-II 00h18m 5.09 ft (running)

River Description

The Upper Nehalem is recommended for advanced beginners through intermediate paddlers. Paddlers need good manuevering skills due to the narrowness of the stream and corners which usually have a wood hazard in them. There are no major rapids in this reach, most are class I. There are several good surfing waves on this reach at moderate flows. The stream bottom is mainly cobble size rock until the lower part of this reach which is soapstone.

To reach the put-in you must first get on Timber road, either from highway 26 at the Timber road junction (turn North)or from highway 47 at the Treharne junction (head South towards the Vernonia Golf Course.) The put-in will be at the second concrete bridge over the Nehalem, regardless of which direction you come from. You will know you are in the right place if Clear Creek road takes off just Northwest of the bridge. The stream gage is located on the North East side of the bridge. Use the bridge right-away as your access to the river. This put-in requires a two to four foot seal launch from a grassy bank. Please do not stray from the County road right-away since the land on both sides of the bridge are private.

The first mile of stream is a warm up for the upcoming crooked turns. It is important to scout the many different routes in the sometimes braided channel. Large woody debris is always moving around in this reach during high flows so each trip may have new routes or portages. Currently there is only one portage, just a short distance downstream of the second concrete bridge you will encounter over the stream. Please respect the private property along this reach. Keep portages to minimal impacts.

An alternate take out is at Airport park, river mile 95. Camping is allowed in this park. This park may be closed due to new construction in the near future. Facilities are primitive.

You will know when you are passing the Vernonia Golf Course (South side of river from Airport Park,) by the golf balls on the bottom of the river. Try your roll skills by picking balls off the bottom. From this point downstream the stream bottom turns into soapstone and can give you a surprise from hidden humps that don't give much warning. There is some interesting geology in this section just before Airport park. The high bank on river right has fossilized sea shells imbedded in it. Also keep an eye open for turtle rocks (round sedimentary rocks that look like thunder eggs.) When split open some of these turtle rocks have a fossil inside.

The take out is at Anderson Park on river left just after passing under a private bridge or at the confluence with Rock Creek (see the listing for this creek for more fun.) Anderson Park has camping for tents to RV's and has hot showers. Anderson Park is also on the Banks/Vernonia Linear State Park, so have the shuttle bunny bring her bike. There is a small fee for day use in the park, but it is good insurance when you may have to leave kayaks when retreiving your kayak carrying vehicle. The care taker is always present and is more than willing to keep an eye on your gear. There is additional tent camping at Vernonia Lake, inquire at the Anderson Park grounds keeper for details. Vernonia Inn provides a more luxurious setting with some rooms with hot tubs available. There are plenty of eateries and bars for the hungry and thirsty.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-02-10 06:58:24


Rapid Descriptions

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