Camping in Oregon
River Recreation
Snow & Ski

Oregon Rivers


Clackamas River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From Big Springs to Big Cliff.

Classification/Mileage: Scenic -- 20.0 miles; Recreational -- 27.0 miles; Total -- 47.0 miles.

Originating in the Cascade Range, the Clackamas flows through a steep-walled canyon lined with dense forest and basalt crags on its way to the Columbia River. A superb fishery, spectacular scenery, and various recreational activities are its special features.

National Wild and Scenic River Designation. In order for a river to become a National Wild and Scenic River, it must be free-flowing and have at least one resource that is considered to be "outstandingly remarkable" -- i.e., of importance to the region or nation. Assessment of the Clackamas River found five different resource categories to be "outstandingly remarkable" -- recreation, fish, wildlife, historic, and vegetation.

Recreation Resources. The river offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities, including white water boating in close proximity to the Portland metropolitan area.

Fish. The Clackamas River provides necessary habitat for several anadromous fish species. It is the last significant run of wild late winter coho in the Columbia Basin, and it is also one of only two remaining runs of spring chinook in the Willamette Basin. In addition, it supports a significant population of winter steelhead.

Wildlife. The Clackamas River also provides habitat for the federally threatened bald eagle and northern spotted owl, and it is potential habitat for the threatened peregrine falcon as well.


Crooked RiverCrooked River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From the National Grassland boundary to Dry Creek.

Classification/Mileage: Recreational -- 15.0 miles; Total -- 15.0 miles.
This segment provides expert class IV-V kayaking/rafting during spring runoff. A portion of the river, from the Ochoco National Forest to Opal Springs, flows through scenic vertical basalt canyons.



Deschutes River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From Big Springs to Big Cliff.

Classification/Mileage: Scenic -- 20.0 miles; Recreational -- 27.0 miles; Total -- 47.0 miles. 

Deschutes River

The Deschutes features ruggedly beautiful scenery, outstanding whitewater boating, and a renowned sport fishery for steelhead, brown trout, and native rainbow trout. The Upper Deschutes features primarily flatwater boating with limited whitewater and excellent trout fishing opportunities. The Middle Deschutes has excellent hiking opportunities with spectacular geologic formations and waterfalls, but boating is limited. The Lower Deschutes offers the greatest opportunities for whitewater rafting and is one of Oregon's premier steelhead and trout fisheries.


Grande Ronde RiverGrande Ronde River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From its confluence with the Wallowa River to the Oregon-Washington border.

Wild: 26.4 miles
Recreational: 17.4 miles
Total: 43.8 miles

From the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to the Oregon-Washington state line, this river offers outstanding scenery, floatboating, salmon and steelhead fishing, wildlife winter range, and cultural resources.

Hunting is popular in this section of the Grande Ronde River. Mule deer, elk, black bear, cougar, and bighorn sheep are principal big game animals inhabiting the river corridor. Fishing is excellent late in the season after the water levels have receded. Hiking along side creeks and ridges offer limited day hikes, but there are no designated trails along the river.

The Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse Indians lived in the reaches of the Grande Ronde. Evidence of the cultural history can be glimpsed in the form of historic and prehistoric places and objects on the public lands. These cultural resource sites are fragile and irreplaceable, and the law protects this cultural history.

The land is managed by several interests, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, the State of Oregon, and many private landholders.

Because of the remote nature of the river canyon, vehicle access is often impossible and the conveniences of civilization are few.


John Day RiverJohn Day River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From Service Creek to Tumwater Falls.

Classification/Mileage: Recreational -- 147.5 miles; Total -- 147.5 miles.

The segment from Service Creek to Tumwater Falls offers exceptional anadromous steelhead and warm-water bass fishing; whitewater boating; and archeological, historical and paleontological values. The John Day flows through a number of colorful canyons, broad valleys, and breathtaking terrain.


McKenzie River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From Clear Creek to Scott Creek, not including Carmen and Trail Bridge Reservoir Dams.

Classification/Mileage: Recreational -- 12.7 miles; Total -- 12.7 miles.
From Clear Lake to Scott Creek, the McKenzie is a challenge to whitewater rafters and driftboaters. Its water clarity and cold temperature enjoy a national reputation and provide for an internationally famous salmonid fishery.


North Umpqua RiverNorth Umpqua River

The North Umpqua River passes through Glide, Oregon, 16 miles east of Roseburg along Highway 138. The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway parallels the river and offers breathtaking scenery to Toketee, where the river diverts into the Cascades and the road continues to Diamond Lake and Crater Lake National Park. Trails, waterfalls, picnic sites and campgrounds dot the highway along the way in natural forested settings.

In 1988, Congress designated 33.8 miles of the North Umpqua River as a Wild and Scenic River with a "recreation" classification. It begins at the confluence of Rock Creek (river mile 35.5) near Swiftwater Bridge and ends at Soda Springs (river mile 69.3). There are five resources listed as "Outstanding Remarkable Values: Fish, Water, Recreation, Scenery, and Cultural Resources."

Recreation activities along the corridor include driving for pleasure, world class fly-fishing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, hiking, watchable wildlife and waterfall viewing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and numerous developed and primitive camping and day-use opportunities.

BLM's Swiftwater recreation site is a day-use area popular for steelhead and salmon fishing. Across the river is western most trailhead of the North Umpqua Trail, a 79-mile effort completed in 1996 after 20 years of work. Susan Creek Day-Use Area and Susan Creek Campground are located seven miles upriver along Highway 138. An easy 0.8-mile hike from the day-use area ends at the moss lined Susan Creek Falls. Susan Creek Campground is located 0.5 mile upstream from the day-use area and is well known as one of BLM's crown jewel recreation sites.

Nationwide, fishermen are lured to the emerald green waters of the North Umpqua River for its seasonal runs of steelhead and salmon. These anadromous (sea run) fish migrate up river from the ocean to spawn in the tributary waters of the North Umpqua River. Between Rock Creek to Soda Springs. Most all of the Wild and Scenic section of the North Umpqua River is limited to fly-fishing only (31 miles)

For rafters and kayakers, the white-water rapids challenge river-running enthusiasts. The river is rated from Class I to Class V rapids, ranging from mild water to moderately short, but raging rapids. Difficulty levels vary throughout the season and are dependent on water flow levels. Most rapids increase in difficulty with higher water volume, and several rapids become more difficult as the water level decreases and exposes more river rock to negotiate. Over a dozen commercial river guides are permitted by the BLM and USFS to provide river float trips to the public. Best months to rafting the river are May, June and into July, depending on weather. Later in the summer, kayakers enjoy the lower flows and thrills of the many currents of the river.


Owhyee River

Designated Reach: October 19, 1984. From Three Forks downstream to China Gulch. Crooked Creek to the Owyhee Reservoir. The South Fork from the Idaho-Oregon border downstream to Three Forks.

Classification/Mileage: Wild -- 120.0 miles; Total -- 120.0 miles.
From the Owyhee Reservoir to the Oregon/Idaho border, the Owyhee flows through a remote, arid and almost unpopulated area. Much of the river cuts through deeply incised canyons that, along with canyon rims, are home to mountain lion, bobcat, mule deer, California bighorn sheep, and a large variety of raptors. Recreational use is increasing despite the difficulty of access.


Rogue RiverRogue River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From the Crater Lake National Park boundary downstream to the Rogue River National Forest boundary at Prospect.

Wild: 6.1 miles
Scenic: 34.2 miles
Total: 40.3 miles

Cutting across the Coast Range and the Siskiyou National Forest, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River begins near Crater Lake in the Cascade Mountains and splashes its way to the Pacific Ocean. The Siskiyou National Forest manages the Wild Section of the Rogue, 35 miles of whitewater racing through the Wild Rogue Wilderness Area.
The Wild Section of the Rogue River is one of the most popular whitewater runs in the world. It's popularity is heightened by a steady water level due to dams upstream, hot, sunny summer weather, and exciting whitewater rapids through lush forests and steep canyons.


Salmon RiverSalmon River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From its headwaters to its confluence with the Sandy River.

Classification/Mileage: Wild -- 15.0 miles; Scenic -- 4.8 miles; Recreational -- 13.7 miles; Total -- 33.5 miles.

The Salmon is one of the few rivers designated for its entire length, from its headwaters in the snowfields high on Mt. Hood to its confluence with the Sandy River. Only an hour's drive from Portland, this clear river cascades over numerous waterfalls in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness before reaching its lower forested canyons. It is known for outstanding wild salmon and steelhead fisheries, numerous recreational opportunities, and the unique Cascade Streamwatch Interpretive Area at the Bureau of Land Management's Wildwood Recreation Site.

The Salmon River's proximity to metropolitan Portland, Oregon, makes it easy for people to enjoy the diverse recreational opportunities that the river offers. In its resource assessment, the river plan identified recreation, scenery, fish, wildlife, and vegetative communities as being outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs). To qualify as an ORV, each value must be a unique, rare, or exemplary feature that is significant at a regional or national level

Recreation. The river and its corridor offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, nordic and alpine skiing, camping and developed recreation sites. Sport fishing is also exceptional at this river, and its reknowned summer steelhead fishery draws anglers from around the state.

Scenery. The scenery of the area is both impressive and diverse. Some of the things that can be seen at Salmon River are close-up views of Mt. Hood and a narrow river canyon containing a series of 6 waterfalls within a 3 mile segment.

Fish. Along with the important and productive anadromous fisheries, there are several rare native fish species found in this river.

Habitat. The corridor of Salmon River contains a wide diversity orf wildlife habitat that is important for federally listed threatened and endangered species, and also for big game.

Vegetative Communities. Along the length of the river, from its headwaters to its mouth, are a wide variety of life and plant zones. Its meadow complex provides great ecological diversity, including several rare plant communities.


Sandy RiverSandy River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From the headwaters to the Mt. Hood National Forest boundary. From the east boundary of Section 25 and 36, T1S, R4E downstream to the west line of the east 1/2 of northeast 1/4 Section 6, T1S, R4E.

Classification/Mileage: Wild -- 4.5 miles; Scenic -- 3.8 miles; Recreational -- 16.6 miles; Total -- 24.9 miles.

The designation includes two separate sections. The upper Sandy originates from the high glaciers of Mt. Hood; riverside trails offer spectacular scenery, easily observed geologic features, unique plant communities, and other wilderness experiences. Just outside Portland, the lower Sandy flows through a deep, winding, forested gorge known for its anadromous fish runs, botanical diversity, recreational boating, and beautiful parks.


Wallowa RiverWallowa River

Designated Reach: July 23, 1996. The segment of the Wallowa River from the confluence of the Wallowa and Minam Rivers in the hamlet of Minam downstream to the confluence of the Wallowa and the Grande Ronde Rivers.

Classification/Mileage: Recreational -- 10.0 miles; Total -- 10.0 miles.

From the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers at Minam, Oregon, downstream to its confluence with the Grande Ronde, this river is the gateway to the Wild and Scenic Grande Ronde River. The Wallowa offers incredible fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and floatboating, as well as a state park for camping. The primary launch site for the Wallowa and Grande Ronde corridors, as well as the Bureau of Land Management public contact station, are located on state lands at Minam.

Designation preserves the outstanding fish, wildlife, scenic and recreational resources of the Wallowa. The river corridor provides habitat for threatened and endangered species such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons, and wintering range for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It also provides habitat for spring/summer chinook salmon, summer steelhead, bull trout, as well as historic habitat for sockeye, coho and fall chinook salmon. The Wallowa offers incredible fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, floatboating, an extended whitewater boating season, and a state park for camping. The primary launch site for the Wallowa and Grande Ronde corridors, as well as the Bureau of Land Management public contact station, are located on state lands at Minam. Its outstanding scenery has been given the Bureau of Land Management's highest scenic classification.


White RiverWhite River

Designated Reach: October 28, 1988. From Mount Hood National Forest to the confluence with the Deschutes River.

Classification/Mileage: Scenic -- 24.3 miles; Recreational -- 22.5 miles; Total -- 46.8 miles.

This outstandingly scenic canyon, which begins at an alpine glacier and flows down to a desert environment, contains a variety of unique and diverse features. In its resource assessment, the river plan identified geology, hydrology, botany, habitat, historic resources, recreation, and scenery as being outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs). To qualify as an ORV, each value must be a unique, rare, or exemplary feature that is significant at a regional or national level.

Geology. The unique geological features include examples of recent volcanic activity, ghost forests, an active fumarole field, and glacial activity.

Hydrology. The river has unique hydrological features, such as its color in late summer and early fall and its isolation from other rivers. During the late summer and early fall, glacial outflow from Mount Hood turns the river milky white due to suspended sediment concentrations. It is hydrologically isolated from other river systems, which provides an environment where unique species can evolve.

Botany. Because of the diverse environments that White River flows through, as well as its isolation from other rivers, there are a wide variety of life zones within its corridor. Many sensitive and unique plant species are found only in this area, including a genetically unique race of redband.

Habitat. The wide variety of wildlife habitat conditions provide for much diversity along the river.

Historical Resources. A section of the historic Barlow Road, which is part of the Oregon Trail, passes through the river's corridor. This section of the road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Recreation. White River offers outstanding opportunities for a wide variety of recreational activities, including nordic skiing, photography, camping, rugged hiking, and nature and wildlife observation.

Scenery. The scenic features include exceptional views of Mount Hood and many examples of landscape diversity.


Willamette River

The Willamette River has 13 major tributaries and drains approximately 12,000 square miles, almost one eighth of Oregon's total area. The Willamette River is the tenth largetst river in the continental U.S. in total discharge, with over 24 million acre-feet annually. The 187-mile main stem of the Willamette River extends from its source south of Eugene, northward to the Columbia River at Portland. There are approximately 16,000 total stream miles in the basin. The Willamette River basin is the fastest growing and most economically developed region of the state.

The Willamette basin has long been a place of beauty, where the meandering Willamette River and its tributaries were surrounded by diverse landscapes if wetlands, prairies, and forests. Its multiple resources and myriad uses still reflect the high quality of life for which Oregon is celebrated. The basin encompasses a variety of landscapes; rivers and streams, wetlands and riparian area, cultivated valleys, developed urban areas, and forested uplands.