In the spring this reach is often run as a continuation of the Upper Crooked particularly by rafts that don't
have a practical means of taking out at Crooked River Ranch.
This reach can be run by itself as springs provide sufficient inflow for this reach through the
summer. The primary issue is access which is less than ideal on both ends of the run.
The dam at Opal Springs generates hydropower and is a 4.3 MW project licensed by the Deschutes
Valley Water District as FERC Project 5891. The project was licensed in 1982, constructed in 1985, and
will be eligible for relicensing in 2032 when the current license expires.
To reach the put-in from Terrebone, head north on Highway 97 but before you cross the river head
west at Highway 97 mile 115.3 on Lower Bridge Road towards Crooked River Ranch. Follow Lower
Bridge Rd. 2.1 miles and turn right on NW 43rd St. Continue 1.8 miles to the T junction and turn left on
NW Powey Ave. Continue on this road, which becomes Chinook Dr., for 3.2 miles as it drops down to
the golf course and turn right on Clubhouse Rd. Drive in 0.4 mile heading right at the church and past
the cabins to parking along a fence a short distance from the gorge rim. From this parking spot, you
can hike the old Hollywood Road which is the gate to the east of where you park. The road is no longer
accessible be vehicles as several boulders have come down from the cliffs above and vegetation has
grown in making it nothing more than a trail. It's about a mile down this road to the river which
provides access near river mile 13. Due to the steep climb, the option of this put-in as a practical
alternative is only feasible for kayaks or IK's.
At the take-out you have to paddle out on Billy Chinook Reservoir. Some rafts have arranged
access at Opal Springs (at river mile 7.2) thus avoiding the long paddle on the reservoir but the word is
not to do the calling yourself as too many people phoning in has resulted in nobody having access.
Arrangements need to be made through the paddling community with someone who has the necessary
contacts. For the rest of us you'll just need to be prepared to paddle out on the reservoir which begins
near river mile 6. The take-out is located where a bridge crosses the Crooked River Arm of the reservoir
at river mile 3.2 (of what was the historic river bed of the Crooked).
A flow of 1240 is sufficient to run this section of the crooked as the springs fill the river year round.
Report of flow needs for whitewater recreation on the Crooked River, OR. [Low Resolution Web Version]
License for the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project (P-5891) on the Crooked River.
Management Plan for the Middle Deschutes - Lower Crooked Wild and Scenic River
Report of flow needs for whitewater recreation on the Crooked River, OR. [High Resolution Print Version]
In contrast to the reach upstream of this one, boating is possible nearly year around due to numerous springs that supplement the minimal flow released from the dams several miles upstream. For this reach check the USBR gauge Crooked River below Opal Springs. Preferred flows are above 1400 cfs but flows are generally always above 1000 cfs which is enough for a kayak. Check out the teacup diagram to determine the status of reservoirs upstream.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
A typical rapid
'The V wave"
Fresh water springs
Hiking Out at Opal Springs
Opal Springs Dam
Crooked River Arm of Billy Chinook
Crooked River below Crooked River Ranch
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.
AW has completed a study of instream flow needs for recreation on the Crooked River in Oregon. The information will provide river managers with important information on how the river is used by whitewater paddlers.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!