The Upper Clackamas River from Three Lynx to North Fork is a great 13 mile winter/spring run close to Portland, OR. You'll experience continuous class II/III whitewater with some class IV excitement thrown in. This is among the most popular rafting trips in northern Oregon due to it's proximity to Portland, great whitewater, camping opportunities, and classic Pacific Northwest scenery. Oregon 224 follows the river which makes it easy to scout rapids and to do a shorter run.

Featured Outfitter

River DriftersRiver Drifters (800) 972-0430 offers half day, full day, and multi-day rafting trips throughout Oregon and Washington.

Definitely be careful at Hole in the Wall Rapid (IV) where a river left eddy/whirlpool has trapped many a boater. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to exit this without scrambling over wet rocks and using ropes to line the boat to safety.

Upper Clackamas River Map

Upper Clackamas River Map

There are tons of places you can choose to put-in or take-out. There is river access at Three Lynx, Fish Creek, Carter Falls, Big Eddy, below Toilet Bowl, Memaloose, and more. After Toilet Bow (III+), the river is mostly Class II down to North Fork Reservoir.

Each May, the Clackamas River is the home of the Upper Clackamas River Festival. This is a weekend full of raft and kayak races, gear workshops, fantastic vendors, and spending time with awesome boaters.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: River access at the Sandstone Bridge River Access Point. Just downstream is Powerhouse Rapid (III+) and the Three Lynx Power Station.

Sandstone Bridge River Access Point

Sandstone Bridge River Access Point

Mile 2.1: The Narrows is a beautiful narrow gorge.

Entering the Narrows on the Upper Clackamas River

Entering the Narrows on the Upper Clackamas River

Mile 4.4: Soon after Roaring River Rapid (III) the Roaring River enters the Clackamas River from river right. About a mile downstream of the rapid there's a sharp left bend which is the marker for Hole in the Wall (IV).

Mile 5: Hole in the Wall River Access provides a place to put-in or take-out before Hole in the Wall Rapid.

Mile 5.2: Hole in the Wall Rapid (IV) is typically scouted since it has a dangerous eddy/whirlpool on river left. If you get caught in the dangerous eddy there is a ladder that can be used to climb out.

Mile 6.9: Fish Creek River Access is a great place to begin or end your journey to make a shorter trip.

Stand Up Paddleboarders below the boat ramp at Fish Creek

Stand Up Paddleboarders below the boat ramp at Fish Creek

Mile 7.6: Carter Falls (IV-) is a famous rapid just above Carter Bridge. There is a hole in the center which many people miss by taking the left hand line. The hole is the location of the infamous Gate #3 in the annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival.

Rafters heading into the hole at Carter Falls

Rafters heading into the hole at Carter Falls

Mile 9.1: Big Eddy river access is a common take out with a long carry.

Big Eddy on the Clackamas River

Big Eddy on the Clackamas River

Mile 9.13: Rock and Roll (III) is just below Big Eddy.

Mile 9.4: Toilet Bowl (III+) is a series of powerful waves that regularly flip rafts and catarafts. There is road access (potential take-out) immediately following Toilet Bowl on the right.

Mile 9.9: Bob's Hole (III) is a great kayak playspot at certain flows.

Mile 13.3: Memaloose take-out is the most commonly used take-out. You may continue floating down to North Fork Reservoir.

Written by
Zachary Collier

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