This run has consistent flow and can be paddled all year as a "novel alternative to hiking the trail", and in the Winter through early Summer kayakers who like big waterfalls come to run 80' Sahalie Falls and 70' Koosah Falls.
Coming out of Clear Lake, fast paced III+ continues for awhile, watch for wood. When the river starts ledging up, be on the look out for a 5-10' pourover. Just below this pourover is the lead in to Sahalie Falls, which can be portaged right or left along trails.
Sahalie was first run by Shannon Carroll in 1998 at which time it was the world waterfall record. Her run is featured as the concluding sequence in the video "Over the Edge" by Falling Down Productions. There is a tough lead in, so most boaters who run the falls skip it and put in right at the lip. The runout to the falls is serious class V, so holding onto the paddle is a must. A high percentage of boaters running Sahalie beach themselves on the left bank after running the drop to avoid the runout rapid.
Below the runout to Sahalie (an easy portage), more class III-IV awaits. It is worth walking down the trail to scout your next eddy as at healthy flows it wouldn't be too hard to get swept into the next drop, a 20 footer with an ancient log jam at the base.
From this 20 foot drop, walk down to scout/portage Koosah Falls on the left. Koosah Falls is about 70' tall, with a funky ledge just above the lip. It was the junior world record waterfall for some time (Pat Keller), the portage is on the left where a steep trail drops off from the main trail down to the base. A small log pile downstream collects gear seperated from owners by the falls, and a short section of gorged class III leads down to the take out at Carmen Reservoir.
For additional information see the
2003 perspective of the McKenzie headwaters at Oregonkayaking.net.
And ten years later the
2013 perspective of the Mckenzie headwaters at Into the Outside.
Here is a video of Koosah Falls. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT2sCd1l0_I
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
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.
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.
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!