North Santiam River
Trip Itinerary & Details
The excitement on the Santiam begins almost immediately, as we encounter a number of small but lively rapids as soon as we push away from our put-in at Packsaddle Park. We'll encounter numerous rapids before we stop for a picnic lunch (on full day trips), but the day's biggest rapids await us after lunch. Spencer's Hole and Carnivore, two of the day's highlights, lie in wait for us a short distance below our lunch stop. And another mile or so downstream we'll run the day's biggest drop: Mill City Falls. (Our 1/2 day trips take out just below the falls, while on our full day trips we continue on downstream.) Below Mill City the river's pace eases, but a number of enjoyable rapids remain to challenge us in the last few miles before our take-out. (We will take out at either North Santiam State Park or at the Mehama-Lyons bridge, depending on water levels.).
Half Day trips
Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM* and afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM*. In either case we meet at North Santiam State Park, near Mehama, Oregon.
One Day trips
We meet at 9:30 AM* at North Santiam State Park
Look for a vehicle sporting the O.R.E. logo. Our lead guide will answer questions and help you prepare for your trip.
Your car will remain here if you are taking a full day trip. In the case of a half day trip you will return to your car and follow our van to the boat ramp at Mill City (or half day trip take-out point - a 10 minute drive). In either case our van will then transport you to the trip's launch point.
Once we arrive at our launch site our lead guide will conduct a safety orientation. We'll then all board rafts and be on our way downstream.
Day trips include a stop for a riverside lunch between noon and 1 PM.
We typically arrive at our take-out point around 12:30 PM (1/2 day morning trips) and around 4 PM in the case of 1/2 day afternoon trips and full day trips.** Once we arrive you will be free to be on your way at your leisure.
* Please plan your drive carefully so as to arrive at our meeting place on time. Our guides will attempt to wait for you if you are running late, but circumstances typically do not allow them to wait more than 20 minutes. If you miss your intended trip we will most likely not be able to provide a transfer to an alternate trip, and we are unable to provide a refund for missed trips.
** Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.
- The services of our professional guides and staff.
- Transportation to and from our meeting place.
- A hearty lunch at riverside on full day trips. Lunch is freshly prepared by our guides from the highest quality ingredients. Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice.
- Durable, professional quality rafts and river running equipment, including splash jackets and U.S. Coast Guard Approved lifejackets.
- Waterproof river bags for your personal gear.
Where and When to Meet
Half Day trips
Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM, and afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM at North Santiam State Park. We will make our shuttle arrangements there, before going to the launch site. Please have your breakfast (or lunch, in the case of afternoon trips) before we meet.
One Day trips
We meet at 9:30 AM on the day of your trip at North Santiam State Park. We will make our shuttle arrangements there, before going to the launch site. Please have your breakfast before our meeting time.
Morning half day trips typically end by approximately 12:30 PM. Afternoon half day trips and full day trips typically end by approximately 4 PM. (Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.)
Getting To and From the River
From Interstate 5 just south of Salem, take exit #253 and follow highway 22 east (toward Detroit Lake). After about 25 miles take a sharp right onto Santiam Park Rd. (If you find yourself on the outskirts of Mill City you've gone about 4 miles too far). Follow Santiam Park Rd. to where it ends at North Santiam State Park. Look for us in the main parking lot.
Pre and Post Trip Shuttles
Shuttle specifics vary by day and group. If you're on a full day trip you will most likely be leaving your car at the Park and boarding an O.R.E. van for the ride to put-in. For half day trips we may caravan further upstream - so that you car will be waiting for you at your trip's take-out spot - before we travel by van the the put-in.
What to Bring
In general you will simply need to bring only your own clothing, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, a change of clothes and a water bottle.
A complete list of what to bring is found here. You will receive a copy of this list when you sign up for your trip.
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|Average daytime high temperature||60||67||74||80||81||75|
|Average nighttime low temperature||40||44||49||51||51||48|
|Average monthly rainfall||3.6"||2.9"||2.2"||0.8"||1.3"||2.0"|
Fishing on the North Santiam is generally good during summer months for trout, and very good during the fall months for salmon and steelhead. If you would like to fish you will need an Oregon fishing license, which may be purchased at Oregon sporting goods stores or online at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site.
Where to Stay Before or After Your Trip
Lodging is available a short drive from the river at the Best Western Sunrise Inn (503-769-9579) in Sublimity. Numerous hotels are also available in Salem, 30 minutes west of the river.
Camping is available at nearby Fishermen's Bend Park, upstream at Detroit Reservoir, and north of the river at Silver Falls State Park.
While in the area consider a trip to nearby Silver Falls State Park. Plan a hike through the old growth forest at Opal Creek Wilderness. Or take advantage of the culture and cuisine of the Portland metropolitan area, just over an hour's drive away.
Guests sometimes ask whether it is appropriate to tip their guide. Tipping is optional, but if your guide did a great job then feel free to thank him or her with a gratuity. The amount is up to you, but tips between 8% and 20% of trip cost are customary.