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North Santiam River - oregon
20th of April
Streamflow 4040 cfs
Average 1500 cfs
Runnable Min 800 cfs
Runnable Max 15000 cfs
Gradient 27 FPM
Length 8 Miles
Class II+ to III+
Current Weather 61° Rain Likely


Packsaddle County Park to Mill City is currently runnable with streamflow levels at 4040cfs, about 169% above the average runnable rate of 1500cfs. We recommend paddling this section of the North Santiam River between a bare minimum of 800cfs and a high of 15000cfs.

This class II+ to III+ journey is accessible from 2 different boat launch points along the North Santiam River. Paddlers should prepare for the 4 class II+ to III+ whitewater rapids along this run. Streamflow levels and subsequent run conditions for Packsaddle County Park To Mill City are sourced from the nearby USGS streamflow gauge at North Santiam River At Niagara, Or.

One of the most popular boating trips in the state with opportunities throughout the year. Moderate flows provide a great training ground for those just learning the sport. When flows are lower kayakers flock to Spencer's Hole for park and play. At high flows this river is a fun ride for more experienced paddlers.Most of the rapids on this run are class II but with a variety of features that make it a great river for skill building and instruction. Once you pass under the bridge at Gates you are approaching Spencer's Hole. This is a fun rapid but as flows drop it becomes a very popular park and play spot providing dependable playboating opportunities through the summer and fall for paddlers from throughout the region.Soon after Spencer's you will come to Carnivore which is found in the left hand channel at an island. If you are looking to avoid it you can just take the route around the right side of the island.Continuing downstream there is some more good class II as you approach the town of Mill City. When you see the bridge come into view you are nearing the take-out. Mill City Falls is just upstream of the bridge and most scout it out before the run as it is easily visible from the take-out. You can take out on river right above the falls or line up for your run and take-out on river right downstream of the old railroad bridge. Weather on the river today will be rain likely, mainly after 11am. mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. chance of precipitation is 70%. new precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Season Begins: January & Ends: December

Seasonal Flow Status: 68% Above Average

With a 4040cfs streamflow rate, Packsaddle County Park To Mill City is currently above its 2408cfs average seasonal streamflow for this time of year by 68%. Typically, this paddling destination has seen streamflow levels ranging between a low of 1050cfs in 2015, and a high of 5290cfs seen in 2012. Data for this report is sourced directly from USGS streamflow gauge 14181500

Hourly Forecast: 61° Today, Rain Likely

Over the course of the next 5 days, weather conditions on the river are expected to range between A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 59. Northwest wind 5 to 13 mph. to a chance of showers. partly sunny, with a high near 69. It doesn't look like there's any substantial snow forecasted this week with air temperatures ranging between 59° - 69°

Forecast Discussion

000 FXUS66 KPQR 190933 AFDPQR Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Portland OR 229 AM PDT Fri Apr 19 2019 .SYNOPSIS...A weak front will bring light rain and cooler weather Friday. An upper level ridge will bring mainly dry and gradually warmer weather over the weekend. && .SHORT TERM...Today through Sunday...Main change is slower progression of front into our area. The front that was to bring rain to much of the area by early this morning remains offshore, delayed by a broad upper ridge over the west coast, the upper trough offshore digging slightly and orienting the front slightly more south-north. Also the wind flow is nearly parallel to the front resulting in less eastward push. The result will be later arrival and longer duration in the forecast area. Radar show spotty light rain reaching the WA coast and should spread across the north OR coast by mid morning. Looks like the interior will see rain through the afternoon and decreasing from north to south tonight, exiting the Lane county Cascades Sat morning. Rainfall amounts will be modest with this front, 0.1" to 0.2" in the lowlands and 0.3" to 0.4" for the mountains through early Sat. Temperaturewise, today will also be mostly cloudy and noticeably cooler, about 10-15 degrees off Thu high temps for much of the interior lowlands. The trend will be toward dry weather Sun as an upper level ridge builds over the NE Pacific. There may be some clouds around to start the day, but expect plenty of sun by the afternoon. Coastal areas may have shallow marine clouds linger through the afternoon. Temps over the weekend should be a few degrees above seasonal averages, with highs over the interior lowlands reaching into the mid 60s. /mh Pyle .LONG TERM...No Changes. Previous discussion follows...Sunday night through Thursday...Models are in general agreement shortwave ridging will push over the Pacific Northwest Sunday night and Monday and slowly transition eastward towards the Rocky Mountain states through the week. This will generally lead to dry and mild weather next week, but increasing southwesterly flow aloft should eventually open the door ...

Whitewater Rapids and Obstacles

Obstacle Summary Class Elevation
Spencer's Hole

A mile after the Gates bridge lies spencer's hole.  This Class III rapid is generally run down the right side with momentum to punch the (sometimes substantial) hole at the bottom.  Many "tubers" and micro-rafters flip here and some experienced boaters in small craft have cause to practice their roll and/or swim here.  The runout is a fast moving pool, that generally allows more than enough time to pick up swimmers and their yard sales. At higher water (1500+) the rapid can be run on the left side, avoiding the hole.  This line is a bit more technical but easily managed in a kayak.  Rafts should stick to the right side.

Scouting is possible on river right just above the rapid - be careful not to get "past the point of no return".  Scouting is also possible on the shuttle as their exists a small dirt path from W Central St down to the river.  Google maps is your friend here.
III- to III+ 900.0 Feet
False Spencer's

Named such because people often confused this rapid with its big brother (Specer's Hole) downstream.  This rapid is a Class II+ at most flows, but occasionally deserves class III attention as it has several large rocks that in recent years have become a little bit harder to avoid, particularly for swimmers. Initial run is on river right, with a move to the left to avoid two large (mostly) submerged boulders.  At some flows these boulders are submerged and just form a small hole.  After the boulders there is a diagonal ledge on the left, "T" up to it and enjoy the splash.  Not a difficult rapid, but swimmers are going to have a bad time.  200 yards downstream is Class III Spencer's Hole.

Lead in can be scouted from river left at the bend in the river preceding it with a campground.
II+ to III- 860.0 Feet

Class (II+)III Carnivore is a small narrow ledge located in the left channel as the river splits around a small island that requires a left to right move.  At most flows it is a chute, at higher water it is more of a true ledge.  At all known flows it flushes, but it is not a good place for a swim as the swift shallow current leads into a small strainer 100 feet downstream (Summer 2013).  The strainer is exceedingly easy for a boat to miss, but a swimmer needs to keep their eyes up in order to spot and move away. Right channel can be run at higher flows, this channel generally becomes very boney below 1100 cfs.

There is no realistic way to scout Carnivore.
III to III+ 820.0 Feet
Mill City Falls

Mill City Falls is a 3' riverwide ledge across the river just before the take out for the popular Packsaddle run.  It is generally run left or right of center to avoid "Waterspout Rock"  which, as the name implies, tends to spout water and is often used as a marker.  There are rocks in the river right channel that can cause issues for inflatable kayaks and smaller craft.

Mill City Falls can be scouted from the take out during the shuttle on the pedestrian bridge.
III to III+ 800.0 Feet

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