2022 North Santiam River ~ Fall Colors Float
River: North Santiam (Packsaddle) ~ Class II/III
Contact: Scott Harvey
Trip information: Experience the beautiful fall colors on our annual North Santiam trip. The float will be from Packsaddle to North Santiam Park. Starting in early fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers usually start their annual reservoir drawdowns from both Detroit and Big Cliff Dams to allow capacity for winter rains behind the concrete dams. This is usually a substantial flow increase to around 2,200 cfs, from the minimal summertime flows of 1,040 cfs. It should be High Indian Summer and a great time for a day run on the North Santiam River. We'll put in at Packsaddle, run for a couple of hours, have lunch and then finish up and take out at North Santiam State Park, which is about three leisurely, scenic miles further downstream from Fisherman's Bend, and with a total of just over 12 miles. There is a mixture of rapids, waves, riffles and play spots, with only about three rapids that require much planning. although at low water levels this run can be bony. Spencer's Hole, Carnivore and Mill City Falls are the three liveliest rapids, and one needs to know where to go over the dam at Mill City to avoid the rocks. (The dam should be approached immediately to the left of a small fountain-like plume that is visible from upstream). Meeting time will be at 10 am @ North Santiam State Park (The Takeout).