Sandwiched between a committing Class V+ section and another unrunnable gorge downstream, the Lower Hamma Hamma River offers a moderate adventure and some excellent scenery. A large portion of this run is roadside, though with it being a seldom used forest service road, paddlers are not likely be distracted by much traffic. An added note for any groups hoping to save on gas is that the nearby road makes this section a great candidate for a bike shuttle.

Beginning at a bridge over the Hamma Hamma River, just past a forest service campground, the river weaves through a flat section with several log jams that will have to be portaged. Eventually Jefferson Creek contributes more volume and the pace of the whitewater begins to pick up. There is no gauge for the Hamma Hamma River, so it will require a judgement call at put-in as to whether there is too much water or not enough.

Generally, if the rapid at the put-in bridge has enough water, the rest of the run should be good to go. Be careful about putting on at higher flows as some of the mandatory log jam portages will approach much more quickly and the final rapid before takeout transitions from a series of Class III drops into a continuous Class IV rapid that can harbor some large holes. Also, it is imperative that paddlers on this section scout the takeout as there is an unrunnable gorge just downstream.

Trip Highlights

Hamma Hamma River_

Looking downstream from the Hamma Hamma River Bridge. Photo by Nate Wilson Photography

Mile 0: Put in at the bridge over the Hamma Hamma River after passing the campground. Enjoy the fun rapid at the bridge and keep an eye out for log jams downstream.

Mile 1.9: Jefferson Creek Confluence. Past here the volume and gradient increases creating a few class III rapids downstream.

Hamma Hamma River U-turn

A paddler at the entrance to Hamma Hamma's U-Turn Gorge. Photo by Nate Wilson Photography

Mile 3.7: This is the beginning of the Class III - IV U-Turn gorge and the last major whitewater before takeout. At higher water there can be a few large hole to dodge in this one. The river calms down around the corner and if you are unsure of where to take out downstream, it is possible to climb to the road below this drop.

Hamma Hamma River Gorge

Paddlers exiting the Hamma Hamma's U-Turn gorge. Photo by Nate Wilson Photography

Mile 4.5: Takeout. There is a trail marked by flagging that follows a decommissioned roadbed back up to FR 2480. At the road look for faint spray paint marking the take out at a slight pullout (mile 3.6 from the Hamma Hamma Bridge). Its a good idea to scout the take out and leave your own flagging as an unrunnable gorge is just downstream.

Written by
Nate Wilson