Crooked, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(IV) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||35 fpm|
|CROOKED RIVER BELOW OPAL SPRINGS, NEAR CULVER, OR|
|usgs-14087400||1400 - 5000 cfs||III+(IV)||01h09m||1240 cfs (too low)|
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).