The Three Bears section of the Molalla is a classic whitewater run near Portland and Salem that you need to catch at the right flow.

Kayakers can do it down to 600 cfs while rafts and catarafts like higher flows up to 2000 cfs. Above 2000 cfs this section of the Molalla get significantly more difficult.

The Three Bears Rapids (Papa Bear, Mamma Bear, and Baby Bear) can be scouted from the road on the drive to put-in.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Just after driving after over the river at the Turner Bridge the road shoulder widens giving space for parking, unloading gear, and launching.

Mile 0.6: The first of the 3-Bears is Papa Bear (III+) just below Turner Bridge. Bear creek comes in on the right just after this rapid. You can get a pretty good view of this rapid as you drive to put-in.

The Entrance of Papa Bear Rapid on the Molalla River
The Entrance of Papa Bear Rapid on the Molalla River

Mile 1.5 The next rapid Mamma Bear (IV) is typically considered the most difficult. The road goes right by this rapid allowing you to scout it on the drive up to put-in. 

Mamma Bear Rapid on the Molalla River
Mamma Bear Rapid on the Molalla River

Mile 3.2 The last of the bear challenges will be Baby Bear (III+), a beautiful rapid that should scouted while driving to put-in.

Baby Bear Rapid on the Molalla River
Baby Bear Rapid on the Molalla River

Mile 8.5 Take-out on the right at a turn-out on S Dickey Prairie Rd just before the Glen Avon Bridge .

Written by
Michael Hughes and Zach Collier

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