Sandy River Gorge

posted: 2012/06/18

The Sandy Gorge is probably one of the best kept secrets on Portland's doorstep. Nestled just off of HWY 26 near Sandy, lies one of the most beautiful and challenging runs around the state. Once in the canyon, one will be immersed with rainforest-like vegetation, uncountable waterfalls, the amazing transformation of open valleys to deep, volcanic ash gorges, to the challenging Class IV+ whitewater. And one of the most unique features of the Sandy Gorge is that it is literally 30 minutes from Portland's Eastside communities.

The Sandy River Gorge is an Oregon classic; the river twists its way through a dark, mossy, Tolkein-esque gorge with some fairly challenging and sometimes intimidating drops. This section is a great place for aspiring class four boaters to get a feel for harder whitewater without a lot of commitment; all of the large drops in the gorge are easy to scout and/or portage.

A good minimum is about 2000 cfs on the Sandy internet Gauge at Bull Run.

Note: This river is not for inexperienced boaters. As with any whitewater, you are responsible for your own safety.


Directions

Put-in (GPS:45o24.481'N, 122o14.082'W)

From the take-out at Revenue Bridge, drive north on Ten Eyck Road for 100 yards and stay straight at the next intersection and continuing on SE Marmot Rd for about 4.3 miles. Turn right on this gravel road and follow it downhill for about 1.3 miles. Reach the put-in downstream of '64 Logjam rapid by hiking down the closed road about 50 yards and turning onto a trail on the left just before the road turns right. The trail divides and ends at two possible, steep trails down to the river.

There is also a trail down to the river just above '64 Logjam rapid. To reach this trail continue on the main road to the next gravel road to the east on the right. The trail begins at the end of this road.

Take-out (GPS:45o23.757'N, 122o9.504'W)

From Portland, head east on US 26 to Sandy. From the junction of US 26 and Oregon 211 in Sandy, head east for several blocks and turn left toward Bull Run and Oral Hull Park on Ten Eyck Road. This road switches back down into the Sandy River Canyon (take a hard left at the first "Y") and goes across Revenue Bridge, the take-out.

We recommend the Tomcat Solo or Tandem inflatable kayak for this trip.

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