River Description: The Upper Clackamas is 13 miles of classic pool and drop class III or III+ (except Carter Falls, which is class IV) whitewater. Rafts need a minimum flow of 2000 CFS on the Three Lynx gaugeand the whole run gains a class in difficulty above about 7000 CFS. A good level for a first run is 2500-4000 CFS.
The class III rapids begin with "Powerhouse" about 1/2 mi. below the put in and can all be read from the water. About 5 miles into the run you come to "Hole In The Wall" rapid. This rapid used to contain a dead end eddy in a rock cleft on river left that could trap boats indefinitely. There is even a chain ladder hung from the cliff over the cleft to allow trapped boaters to exit the cleft. This rapid no longer is the dead end trap that it was before the big flood of '96 but it still has a lot of current pushing a boat towards the cleft on river left. This rapid should be run to the right of the main current unless you are very familiar with it.
The really big rapid, and the only class IV on this run, is "Carter Falls". Immediately above Carter Bridge, this rapid is easily scouted on the way to the put in. At lower flows it requires dodging a few boulders as you slide down towards a riverside ledge. At higher flows it requires a run tight to the left side to avoid boat flipping holes.
There are several more class III rapids in the run including "Toilet Bowl" which has the biggest waves of the run. About 9 miles into the run start looking for people on river right. You are approaching "Bob's Hole". This famous kayak play spot attracts boaters from all over to try their rodeo moves and spectators on river right to watch the show. The actual hole itself is left of center and fun to surf in a raft but be sure that the hole is open when you come into it. You don't want to scatter yakkers like bowling pins.
Driving Directions: I5 South to exit 7. There take I205 into Oregon and follow signs towards Estacada. In Estacada pickup SR224 and follow SR224 to the takeout at the old weight station at Memaloose. The put in is 13.5 miles upstream on river left immediately after crossing a bridge over the river. Driving time from Southcenter is 3:15 to the take out.