Near both Portland and Salem, the beautiful North Santiam River offers easy access to whitewater fun. Our North Santiam trips combine lively rapids with enchanting cascade mountain scenery. This beautiful stream provides one of the state's loveliest yet least known raft tours. Flowing from its source high in the Cascades near Mount Jefferson, the North Santiam runs swift and cool through a lovely forested valley.
During spring snowmelt the North Santiam sports many class III to III+ rapids, including Spencer's Hole, Carnivore, and Mill City Falls. During the summer months the North Santiam offers a more relaxing pace, mostly class II+ rapids, and sunny skies. In the fall the water typically rises again, and the class III whitewater returns.
Spring and summer are great times to run the North Santiam, but fall is a particularly nice time to float these waters. The chance for a sunny day remains high, and fall colors and soft light add to the day's beauty. Plus we're usually treated to a second season of high flows, as the operators of Detroit dam increase the flow from this upstream reservoir (to prepare storage capacity for the coming winter rains). Guests on fall trips may also be treated to the sight of shoals of migrating salmon.
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world's most diverse coniferous forests. We see a number of houses on our float, but overall, forests still dominate the landscape. Animal species you may see on your trip include chipmunks and ground squirrels, deer, grouse, and occasionally mink and otter.
Much of the local geology is hidden beneath deep soils, but in places along the way the bedrock is in view, revealing old volcanic rocks that predate the majestic volcanic peaks visible to the east. Also visible along the way are signs of the region's early history, including Mill City, which grew up around a lumber mill founded by John Shaw.
Morning 1/2 day trips meet at 9:30 AM and end at approximately 12:30 PM. Afternoon 1/2 day trips meet at 1:00 PM and end at approximately 4:00 PM. Full Day trips meet at 9:30 AM and end at approximately 3:30 PM. All trips meet at North Santiam State Park, off highway 22 near the town of Mehama.