The Sandy River begins as a trickle from Reid Glacier on the west side of Mount Hood. It flows 56 miles down to the Columbia River near Troutdale. From 1912 to 2007 Bull Run Hydroelectric Project diverted water from the Sandy River and the Little Sandy River, ran it through Bull Run Powerhouse, producing power for up to 12,000 homes. Rising environmental costs helped with the removal of these dams and let the Sandy, and Little Sandy flow free again.

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The Sandy Gorge is a great, pool drop, class III-IV run just a little over an hour away from Portland. This is a great run, with a handful of fun pool drop rapids and boulder gardens. However, it often collects wood, so paddle with caution, keep your eyes open, and do your best to get the most recent beta on any new wood.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put at the old Marmot Dam site. Historically there has been a long jam just down stream of put-in, with access to scout or portage on the right.

Log Jam

Log Jam

Mile 3.9: Boulder Rapid (IV) is a rapid that should be approached with caution. There is often wood in piled up somewhere in this technical boulder garden. Approach with caution and think about scouting.

Boulder Rapid, Sandy Gorge

Boulder Rapid, Sandy Gorge

Mile 4: Just down stream is Rasp Rock (IV).

Mile 4.6: Drain Hole (IV) is a big right hand turn rapid that doesn't look like much. You can scout or portage this rapid on the right. There is a lot of current pushing left into some nasty boulders with small slots that often collect wood, paddle hard to the right.

Drain Hole Rapid

Drain Hole Rapid

Mile 5.8: Revenue Bridge Rapid (IV) is a two part rapid. The entrance to the rapid is a boulder garden with a couple options based on flows. This part of the rapid can be scouted from the right or the left. It can also be portaged along the left bank down to the small pool in the middle of the rapid just before the second drop. The last bit is a couple large waves, with the second one becoming a sticky hole as you move to the right. Sneaking left avoids most of the chaos.

Revenue Bridge Rapid on the Sandy River

Revenue Bridge Rapid on the Sandy River

Mile 6: Take-out on the left below Revenue Bridge. Take extra care at take-out because there are a bunch of private homes nearby. Please be respectful, minimize activity at take-out, and pick up any trash.

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