Illinois - 1 - Highway 199 to Miami Bar (16.4 miles)

Illinois, Oregon, US


1 - Highway 199 to Miami Bar (16.4 miles)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 16.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14377100 700 - 3500 cfs II-III 00h49m 763 cfs (running)

River Description

This run can be done as a day trip by locals or an extension of the classic overnight wilderness run on the Illinois. Note that although this is a good option for kayakers, the portage at Illinois River Falls and the river-level foot bridge are problematic for rafts. Rafts should put-in at the McCaleb Bridge and take in just the lower portion of this run (see map) or just skip this section and put-in at Miami Bar.


When flows are up a bit you can float on Deer Creek (4.4 miles) to the confluence with the Illinois (class 2-3). Deer Creek is under the bridge a 1/2 mile or so south of the store in Selma.


An alternate access for a short run is at the Snailback Trailhead. This is a posted river access point a mile or two downstream from Selma. A pretty, I/2 mile downhill walk gets you to the river and it's about 3 miles to a take-out below Lower Six Mile. There are only 4 stand-out class 3 to 3+ rapids (Ranch Rock, Crankshaft, Upper and Lower Six Mile) in that distance but the deep canyon is beautiful and wildlife plentiful. The rapids can pack a punch when flows at the Kirby Gauge read over 1,500 cfs.


Below lower Six Mile Rapid is a mile or two of class 2, Then a fun 3+ rapid that signals lower Illinois falls (5+) is around the corner. Eddy out and portage right when a block of concrete appears in the middle of the river (fish ladder). After a couple of imaginary runs down the falls, It's class 2 to the floating bridge at McCaleb Ranch where you can expect to portage. This foot bridge and the road bridge at this point also serve as an alternate access point. It is a take-out (11.6 miles from listed put-in) or alternatively a put-in for a quick run (4.8 miles) down to Miami Bar or a longer journey that continues through the wilderness section of the Illionois.


From the bridges down to Miami Bar there are a number of fun class 3 rapids with a harder one at a recent land slide on river left. A moving pool leads into a landslide boulder dam 5-8' high depending on flow with a cheat line on the right, starting a 100 yards upstream of the main drop. The rocks in the main drop haven't yet been softened up by the river and are ragged and sharp--no place to be upside down.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-04-03 12:18:59

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-45.5Snailback AccessN/AAccess
-42.8Sixmile RapidsN/A
-39.7Illinois River FallsVWaterfall
-39.4Rancheria Bridge (at McCaleb Ranch)N/AAccess Portage Hazard Photo
-35.3Salmon Creek RapidsN/A

Rapid Descriptions

Snailback Access (Class N/A, Mile -45.5)

Walk in at the Snailback Trail Head, a posted river access point a mile or two from Selma. A pretty, 1/2 mile downhill walk gets to the river.

Illinois River Falls (Class V, Mile -39.7)

Eddy out and portage right when a block of concrete appears in the middle of the river (fish ladder). After a couple of imaginary runs down the falls, it's class 2 to the floating bridge at McCaleb.

Rancheria Bridge (at McCaleb Ranch) (Class N/A, Mile -39.4)

Rancharia Bridge (Forest Road 4103-087) at McCaleb Ranch

Rancharia Bridge (Forest Road 4103-087) at McCaleb Ranch
Photo taken 01/17/08

The Rancheria Bridge (Forest Road 4103-087), a low water bridge at McCaleb Ranch typically requires a portage. This is also an alternate access point for those who want to paddle this reach but don't want to deal with a portage at Illinois River Falls or the bridge. There is also a trail bridge just upstream of the road bridge.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 19 2010 (2979 days ago)
William VolpertDetails
I think that the bridge to McCaleb has been fixed...
March 22 2010 (3221 days ago)
Thomas O'KeefeDetails
Forest Service News: Rancheria Bridge Temporarily Closed Contact: Howard Jubas, Forest Road
Manager, (541) 471-6705 MEDFORD, OR - February 25, 2010 - The Rancheria Bridge that crosses the
Illinois River at McCaleb Ranch on the Wild Rivers Ranger District has been temporarily closed
until further notice to all motor vehicle use due to concerns of public safety. A recent Engineer's
site visit discovered that there are numerous missing and rotting planks on this low water bridge
that will require repair prior to the bridge reopening. The work to repair the bridge cannot occur
until the level and velocity of the Illinois River drops enough to allow workers access underneath
the bridge later this year. Barricades will be placed on Forest Road 4103 087 to warn the public of
the closure.


Associated Projects

  • Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)
    American Whitewater is working to protect the wild rivers of Southwestern Oregon and Northern California from the threats of nickel strip mines.