The Breitenbush is a popular central Oregon river with excellent water quality and scenic moss covered gorges.This III-IV run has mostly pool droop rapids and, at medium to low flows, is a good stepping stone run for boaters getting into class IV creeking.

Mile 0.4: The Slot (IV) is the first major rapid of the run and starts with a fast moving lead-in before plunging over a small, uniform ledge. A small slackwater pool offers a moment to collect before the river drops through a fun flume where the canyon walls constrict the flow.

A kayaker drops into the Slot.

A kayaker drops into the Slot.

Mile 1.1: The next significant rapid is the Notch (IV-) where the river drops over a broken ledge. While there used to be a right line, the rapid has recently changed and the right side presents a wood and sieve hazard. The most common line is to run far left boofing a three foot ledge.

Between the Notch and the next bridge the river passes through consistent class III-III+ rapids and ledges. At low flows there are eddies and slackwater pools to recover in but at high flows this section has a more sustained class IV feel to it. Most of the rapids are boat scoutable but wood can collect in some of the more constricted canyon sections.

Some of the unnamed rapids.

Some of the unnamed rapids.

Mile 6.8: Not long after passing under the road bridge you arrive at Barbel (IV). Here the river forms two channels around a huge midstream rock with the right channel plunging over a sloping ledge that you don’t want to plug and the left channel dropping through a fun but easier line.

Mile 7.6: After more fun class III rapids paddlers arrive at Woo Man Choo (IV). Here the river drops through a number of doors with multiple line options ranging in difficulty. The left line is a boof over a hole while, at higher flows, a twisting drop through a small chute opens up on the right.

Clearing the hole at Woo Man Chu.

Clearing the hole at Woo Man Chu.

Written by
Tim Kelley

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