Cascade Mountains

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In the route descriptions the terms left and right refer to facing downstream unless otherwise stated.

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Clackamas River Watershed

This is a very compact area. All of the listed canyons are close to each other and a short drive from Portland. All of the canyons are technical. There is room for exploration of new canyoning possibilities, including Sandstone Creek, Cat Creek, and Three Lynx Creek. There are some very big waterfalls in the area. The main falls on the South Fork of the Clackamas is about 180 feet. The bottom-most falls on Whale Creek and Pup Creek are well over 200 feet. An excellent source of information for the area is The Clackamas Waterfall Project by Bryan Edwards. He is in the process of documenting all of the falls in the area. There are over seventy. Check it out here.

Opal Creek Watershed

The official name is Little North Santiam River, but it is more commonly referred to as Opal Creek. It is among the prettiest drainages in the Oregon Cascades. We currently have five routes listed. There is potential for more. The lower part of Opal Creek is a nontechnical hike and swim canyon with some very beautiful parts. Since there are various access points, you can do the parts that most interest you. Upper Opal Creek is more technical with waterfalls to rappel. It's an all day commitment requiring a car shuttle. Henline Creek is the local classic. Every Oregon canyoneer will eventually do it. There are lots of waterfalls and an occasional jump or slide. Allow all day for the whole thing. Gold Creek has, in my opinion, little to recommend it, but is included any way in case you are interested in something very short and easy. The East Fork of Stack Creek has recently been done for the first time. It has a small drainage so it can be done when other canyons are flowing with too much water.

There are several potential canyon prospects in the area. Tincup Creek, the West Fork of Stack Creek, and Horn Creek all flow into the north side of Opal Creek and have good road access at their lower ends on Forest Service Road 2209. They also have small watersheds and may dry up in summer. Sullivan Creek is a tributary of Cedar Creek and has easy road access. There is a long beautiful waterfall at the bottom next to Forest Service Road 2207. Battle Ax Creek is a tributary of Opal Creek and joins it at Jawbone Flats. It is quite long and has an unknown number of waterfalls. A trail more or less parallels it for most of its length. This might be the next big canyoning route in the area.

North Santiam River Watershed

We currently have six canyons listed in this area. These canyons are accessed from Route 22 which goes from Salem to Detroit. The best canyon by far is Parkett Creek. This is an Oregon classic which was discovered and guided for several years by Matt Moore, a canyon guide from Moab, Utah. Parkett Falls, which is about 180 feet high, was apparently unknown before Matt's dicovery. Lost Creek is also worthwhile. The narrow lower section is especially nice. Kinny Creek is nontechnical. The major point of interest is where it flows through a boulder cave. Box Canyon Creek and Heater Creek both flow into Detroit Lake so you need a pack raft or boat. Unfortunately we have limited beta and no photos for either of them. Sardine Creek is easy. It has two branches. The east fork has not been done in its entirety. There are more falls upstream of the road where the route begins.

Other possibilities are Stout Creek and Ayers Creek which are in the Santiam State Forest. Little Sardine Creek is about a mile west of Sardine Creek off of route 22.