Deep, hard to access basalt gorge with little escape once you commit to the inner gorge. Waterfalls drop off the face of the earth and leave you sitting at 75ft. Final Falls with no way around on foot. Take your climbing rope!
Class: V – V+
Portages: 2 – 4 (Depending on how much you like the character of the run).
Shuttle: A two hour drive into Linney Creek Campground from the take out or hike up 6 miles from the take-out. A Northwest Forest Pass is required at the take-out!
Put-In: Split Falls – Approximately 2 miles downstream of Linney Creek.
Take-Out: Salmon River Campground.
CRG Video edit with Salmon River Gorge 2012 trip…
Salmon River Gorge edit from July 27, 2011
With the release of the Pyranah Karnali came the yearly SRG trip. Summer 2009
- July 27, 2011
Once you leave the chaos of the take out heading up stream on the Salmon River West trail the forest and natural beauty of the area takes over and draws you deeper and deeper into the gorge. Since the floods during this past winter the take out rapid and gauge rock had changed dramatically. So we hiked in, guessing on the flow and hoping for the best. We hiked up and put on about 4 miles in and dropped into the top of Little Niagara and got straight down to business. The flow was in the medium range with a few pushy spots in the gorge..
Vanishing was clear of wood and we proceeded around the corner to a small ledge drop above Frustration. A big boulder had rolled downstream and changed the drop a little, actually making it easier.. Frustration always seems to live up to its name in some fashion. We found a new log that had been pushed down the center of the falls and wedged into the undercut wall and it extended back into the falls. It was clear of the main line, but it made it a little more intimidating.
Many of the rapids below Final Falls are gravel bars and boulder rapids, much of this changed during the last flood spreading out the flow and altering the main channel that used to be there. Needless to say it was a very bumpy paddle out even at this flow. Unfortunately, the one sieve portage below Final didn’t change and is still a portage.
Note: When I returned home from this trip, THIS is the first thing I saw.. So, I feel a need to express how valuable experience and group dynamics are, not to mention how dangerous waterfalls can be if you are the least bit careless. Most paddlers know (and have experienced) that an 8ft drop can do severe damage to your back and running waterfalls takes an understanding and focus that can’t be taught. Sure, paddlers have run bigger drops and it seems to happen on a regular basis, but that doesn’t make them easier for other people. It’s easy to watch kayaking videos and gain a disillusion from experienced paddlers going off waterfalls. The paddlers who are pushing these bigger and bigger drops, or who consistently paddle large waterfalls, are building off their own experience and they have the knowledge to know what to do if one of their friends gets hurt. Time is precious when things go wrong in whitewater, being a great paddler is one thing, but having the assets to help your friends when they need it can be a priceless art.
- June, 2010
The Team; Luke Spencer, Ryan Young, Joe Stumpfel, Bobby Miller, Ryan Scott, and Todd Wells
- July 5, 2009
The weekend of July 4th rapidly approached and with the plans set for yet another Salmon River Gorge adventure, this crew had some serious work to do since they were going to R-2 the canyon. The best advise that I could give was, “Have your boats at water level and ready to go so we can make it out before dark!” Given the fact that once you enter the canyon proper, you can not get out with your gear without going downstream. On July 4th Hans Hooman, Tom Marley, Scott Waidelich, and myself hiked into the canyon to complete the run. Logistics, once again, proved to take longer than initially expected and we were looking at a put in time of around 4pm…. unsure if that would be sufficient time to complete the canyon, we called it a day once everything was at water level and proceeded to hike back out.
The plan was to hike back in the next morning and get going by 12pm. During all of this we were also sparsely communicating with Luke Spencer, Dan McCain, and Jacob Cruser who were dealing with the same logistical nightmares at the top of the canyon around Split Falls. Since the two groups seemed to be back on the same page/day, even though Hans and Tom’s raft and our gear was sitting a little over a mile downstream from Dan, Luke, and Jacob, at the top of Vanishing Gorge. We set a push off time of 12pm and relayed that to the other group.
The breathe taking view of Frustration Falls
Hans and Tom setting their angle off Frustration
- July, 2008
Salmon River Canyon – Blitz Mission 2008
It’s always a treat when you return home from a big mission (Middle Kings) and have your local expedition come into play. Word spread that the Salmon River Canyon was a bit high last week and with that knowledge the mission was forming. The Seattle boys consisting of Paul Gamache, Scott Waidelich, Ben Hawthorne, & new B-ham resident Cody Howard rolled into town Friday night in proper form and saturday morning I woke up with a yard full of kayakers including Austin Rathmann and Rob Bart ready to get into the mission. After debating on how to run the shuttle, the logical idea was to load up 7 paddlers and boats into my rig, drive to the take out, and hike 6 miles up to the put in. The other option was to take two cars to the take out, drive a 3 hour shuttle (one way), run the river, drive another 3 hours in to get the put in car and a couple hours out and go home. With a 6 mile hike under our belts we had the car waiting at the bottom and 7 very excited paddlers scouting Split Falls. Highlights of the trip are different for everyone in this canyon for me the scenery, once again, was Epic, the waterfalls Epic, and two bros bombin Final Falls, EPIC!
Ben Hawthorne half way through the hike in
Scott Waidelich taking the first paddle strokes on the Salmon, dropping in above Split Falls
Paul Gamache on Split Falls
Rob Bart on the put in falls
Austin Rathmann left at Lil Niagra
Cody Howard charging Vanishing Falls
Paul exiting Vanishing Gorge
Cody on the only true rapid in the Canyon
Austin on Frustration part one
*Cody ran this shortly after and moved the new pice of wood in the LZ
Austin on Frustration part two
Scott dropping off Frustration part three
Austin running a new line on In Between
Paul Gamache decided that he had nothing better to do that day than have lunch at the top of Final Falls and give it a try. He slightly cliped the flake, which is extremly hard to avoid, and landed a little sideways partially pulling him out of his boat. Cody Howard watched Paul’s line from above and decided to give it a go. The next thing I witnessed was the biggest dry hair line ever! Personally I like to run a waterfall, no matter how big, and not even get my face wet, but Cody flew off landing nearly flat and exploding his rear foam pillar in his boat. After the disbelief wore off a bit we rallied to the take out and made it back to Hood before the sun went down.
Paul leading the charge on Final Falls
Cody Howard Huckin Huge
The final piece of the Salmon Canyon puzzle, the elusive gauge rock
*The flow was on the low side of good and I don’t think it will hold much longer!
The next day we were all beat down, but we couldn’t let Cody go home without seeing the L-Dub. After all his first paddle strokes in the PNW were off of the waterfalls of the SRC and he left no runnable drop unrun.
Props to Paul and Cody for steppin’ it up on Final Falls and thanks to Paul & Ben for the use of the photos!
- Final Falls Update August 30, 2008
Keel and I jumped Final Falls on river right landing close if not in the whitewater pushing away from the right side of the falls. We both hit bottom after falling through, I’m guessing 10ft. of water. Luckily it was a sandy bottom and dind’t feel like solid rock. Neither of us were injured, just a little spooked at the moment.
- July, 2007
Salmon River Canyon, Oregon 6/3/07
All Photos on this post by Keel Brightman
One more run before it goes away for another year. We decided to camp at the put-in and get up and charge it the next day. So we arived sat. afternoon and proceeded to hike our boats down the trail so we didn’t have to deal with it the next day. The next morning we ran shuttle really fast…and made it on the water by 1pm.
Mt. Hood on the drive in on FR240.
Brian Eustis running Split Falls.
Jason Schroeder on Split Falls.
Andy Lichtenheld trying out a new line on Little Niagra Falls.
Mike Northrop running Little Niagra.
Keel Brightman on Vanishing Falls
Photo by Andy Lichtenheld
Jason Schroeder in Vanishing gorge.
Jason Aytes in Vanishing gorge.
Andy Lichtenheld getting out away from the bottom drop in Frustration Falls.
In between, Frustration and Final.
Luke Spencer on the drop just above Final Falls.
Jason Aytes same drop.
The crew above Final Falls.
Luke jumped the cliff first and hit bottom on the landing. Mike went and same thing so everyone else went for the rappel. Keel went over to river left and launched off the cliff into the base of the drop. Definitely deep there!
Mike Northrop on the jump on river right at Final Falls.
Brian Eustis on the rappel at Final Falls.
Luke Spencer jumping Final Falls.
My boat on its way over Final.
Another awesome day in the Canyon!
Thanks to everyone that went, good times!
- May, 2007
*Known as the Mt. Everest of Oregon Kayaking.
*Also called the Most Technical and Committing Box Canyon in Oregon.
Trying to stay on the right road to the put in.
Getting there is always a challenge.
At the end of the trail, getting ready to drop into the canyon.
Split Falls, put in drop.
Photo Keel Brightman
Chris Korbulic on Split Falls.
Photo Keel Brightman
This one always turns out to be an epic day! A couple things changed this year. The foot bridge that crossed the Salmon on the hike in from Linney Creek is gone and there is some new wood in the canyon. There are a couple vertical logs in the gorge below Vanishing Falls, not really a problem uless you decide to run the falls, but Keel and Chris make it look good. Also one log above Frustration the required some tricky boat work to make it over to the right to scout. Tricky meaning, If you miss the move you’re running Frustration blind!
*all photos from here down by Keel Brightman
Chris Korbulic in the gorge below Vanishing Falls.
same drop from the side.
Chris Gabrielli in Vanishing gorge.
Jay Gifford in Vanishing gorge.
Jay paddling out of the room at Frustration Falls.
On the outside looking in.
E.J. Etherington, mid-jump. Chris and Jeff below Frustration.
*this jump is not recommended, it’s shallow!
Jay Gifford on the 20 footer above Final Falls, Frustration Falls in the background.
Chris Gabrielli on the falls above Final.
E.J. Etherington same drop.
Jeff Hazboun same drop.
The crew above Final Falls.
We had a rope for the rappel at Final Falls, but there were other options that the crew explored. Keel and Jeff jumped off the top and into the pool and Chris Korbulic decided to fire up the main line, just left of the flake in the center of the falls. He over rotated just a little, tossed the paddle and tucked up tight. That was right up there with the sickest lines I’ve seen. Final Falls is really big and hard to line up. We paddled out and made it before dark.
E.J. and Jay on the edge of Final Falls.
Check out this short video from the trip