North Santiam River
(Packsaddle Park to Mill City Falls)
A trio of Class III rapids and nice scenery make this Portland favorite one of the state's most frequently paddled summertime rivers. When the flows are low on other rivers this one is still pumping.
From the put-in at Packsaddle Park off Highway 22, the river offers boulder-dodging and forested scenery. After passing below the Gates bridge, get ready for the most exciting stretch of river.
Spencer's Hole, Class III+, requires punching through a hole by running center-right into the rapid. Just downstream comes an island and a sweeping, left-to-right drop of Carnivore, Class III. The final rapid is Mill City Falls (Class III), a large drop below Mill City Bridge.
If you're kayaking, park your car and set up the take-out at Mill City Bridge. If you're rafting, take out a mile downstream at Fishermen's Bend Recreation Site boat ramp.
The paddle from Fishmen's Bend to North Santiam park is very nice, with easier Class II/III rapids.
~Credit: Statesman Journal