This photo needs editing.
Difficulty III-IV
Length 4.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 05/18/2005 9:01 pm

River Description

This section of river is a bypass reach for the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Plant. Whitewater resources are currently being examined by Confluence Research in partnership with the utility, American Whitewater, and local volunteers.

Tamolitch Falls separates the Upper Carmen and Lower Carmen reaches on this section and represents a break point where the character of the whitewater changes. Upper Carmen is approximately two miles long and drops about 50' per mile with class II/III whitewater. Beginning about 1/3 of a mile above Tamolitch Falls the gradient increases dramatically approaching 200' per mile with class III/IV whitewater. Tamolitch Falls is a 50'-60' vertical drop into the "Blue Pool". Below this point the river passes through a steep gorge for about a mile representing the most interesting whitewater on the run. Below the gorge the gradient eases off to about 60' per mile as the channel begins to braid and substrate size decreases.

Additional assessment of the feasibility of access in the vicinity of Tamolitch Falls is ongoing as is further study of the whitewater resources and recommended flows.

Additional Information

  • The Carmen-Smith Relicensing website contains information on the project including maps and the Whitewater Boating reports by Confluence Research and Consulting.
  • Jason Hartz summarized the findings of a land-based river survey in the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of the American Whitewater Journal.

Rapid Descriptions


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Directions Description

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Oregon Waterway Access Bill Set to Become Law

Priscilla Macy

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.

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McKenzie River (OR) Flow Study

Thomas O'Keefe

On May 11th and 12th a contingent of boaters representing the Eugene paddling community gathered for a flow study on the Carmen Reach of the McKenzie River and the adjacent Smith Bypass Reach on the Smith River, both of which rarely see boatable flows due to operation of the Eugene Water and Electric Board's Carmen Smith Hydroelectric Project.
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Whitewater Study at Carmen Smith Project

Jason Hartz

American Whitewater and the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) cooperated in a land-based reconnaissance whitewater boating study on the Upper McKenzie and Smith rivers, 70 miles east of Eugene Oregon. The Carmen – Smith Project is EWEB’s oldest hydropower endeavor. EWEB has initiated the relicense process for this hydro project.

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194297 05/18/05 n/a n/a