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Difficulty I(II)
Length 25.9 Miles
Flow Range 4.00 - 6.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 22 minutes ago 3.44 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/10/2010 6:59 am

River Description

The Vernonia to Birkenfeld run is best run in sections. This is beginner water as the river is wide and slow in most places. Caution should always be used since full spanning trees are a possibility. If you enjoy easy water, a good work out, rock hounding on gravel bars (agates are common)and enjoying the sun, this is the run for you. The Nehalem has not been deemed navigible at this time, so please respect private property and advoid tresspassing past the high water mark.

The first section from Vernonia to Pittsburg is 6.5 miles long. The put-in is at Anderson Park (r.m.90.8) which can be found by turning South at the 76 gas station in downtown Vernonia. Keep going and the street will run into Anderson Park. The put-in is located behind the care takers trailer. A small fee is required to park your car in the park. After putting in you will float a short distance before Rock Creek will enter on river left. There are small riffles and easy Class I rapids through out this section. An alternate put-in is at the Green Steel bridge (r.m.89.4) on the Northeast end of Vernonia. The put-in is on the North end of the bridge at a wide spot. This is city owned property, please park on the North end of the wide spot, since drift boaters use this access and don't appreciate people parking in the way. The take out is at Pittsburg (r.m.84.3). Look for the Spar Tree Restruant, the take out is on the South side of the restruant and is owned by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Alternatively the trip can be extended to Big Eddy County Park at river mile 81. The take out is at the South West corner of the park. A small fee may be required to access the park.

The section from Big Eddy Park to Mist is 8.6 miles in length. It has more flatwater with only a few rapids. Natal is at river mile 76.3 and can be used as an alternate put-in or take out. There is a new concrete bridge at this location that can be used for river access. The take out at Mist is on the left side of highway 47 just before the intersection at Mist, a large gravel area adjacent to a shop and home is the spot. A trail leads down to the river at its Southern most point.

The section from Mist (r.m.72.4)to Birkenfeld (64.9) is 7.5 miles long. This section starts off with some excitement as there is a Class I+ to Class II rapids just down stream from the put-in. This rapid is actually a three step drop and can be quite fun. The river is flat water below the rapid for some distance. There is one more tricky spot just above the alternate Flora road put-in at river mile 69.1. There is another take out/put-in at the bridge over the Nehalem going to Fishhawk Lake. Use the Northeast side of the bridge to access the river,(r.m.66.5). The take out at Birkenfeld is at the bridge over the Nehalem on the West end of town. Use the East end of the bridge for access

Camping is available in Vernonia and at Big Eddy County Park. Food is available at Birkenfeld,Pittsburg and Vernonia.

Rapid Descriptions


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Joe Hundley
7 years ago

Ran Vernonia to Pittsburg at 4.88 in a Prijon Embudo Creeker, with two friends in Jackson Regal SoT's. I wouldn't run it much lower, all of us were hitting bottom regularly and got hung up multiple times in shallow water. It's a good run to take friends with no white water experience on, but I would advise that they have some kayak handling experience. There is 1 large fallen tree blocking the river, you can go right and squeeze under, in higher water, a portage would be needed on the left bank. There is another section further down with a number of fallen logs that require a portage.

Gage Descriptions

The gage for this run is approximately ten miles upstream of Vernonia on the upper Nehalem. Use this gage height for this run. Please note that the CFS rate will double on this run once you pass the mouth of Rock Creek. Do not double the stream height though since the river becomes wider after the Rock Creek confluence.

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




Thomas O'Keefe


Dale Webb


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197219 02/10/10 Thomas O'Keefe reach name
1193479 11/03/04 Dale Webb n/a