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Old 01-30-2013   #11
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,150
Originally Posted by Kendi View Post
Looks like I better start investigating Eastern OR!

What is the best source to looking up this kind of info?

Regarding "groovers" - my boys camp with me when I'm guiding on BLM land. Last time I took them to a real campground- they were confused why they couldn't jut pee on a tree and had to walk across the campground to use the the

Thanks guys- I appreciate it (and my boys will too!)
You won't find much info on the NF John Day other than a few snipets of info in books like Soggy Sneakers.
The book with the most info on the NF John day is Floating and Fishing Oregon's Wilderness Canyons by Melinda Allan, however, the book overall is pretty lame. Best source is by word of mouth. I have built pdf river maps for the Dale area to Monument with my personal notes that I would be willing to share in your case.

As far as the Grande Ronde goes, the most extensive write up is also in Melinda's book, but word of mouth is better, BLM floaters guide has good info, and Lotti and Grant at Minam Raft Rentals and Shuttle will hook you up with any detailed info as well. I also have all the info for shuttles, best shuttle roads, good camps, etc. (I used to work on that river, not as a guide though)

The other good aspect is that the GR is basically floatable all year and is within an easy 1/2 day drive from Puget Sound and there are good places to camp the evening before a launch less than 1 hour drive from put-in (not counting the Minam Park right on the river, which I don't particularly care for).
I also don't like the deschutes particulary for float trip in and of itself, although I do fish it.

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Old 01-30-2013   #12
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
Shapp- sent you a PM

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Old 01-31-2013   #13
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 993
PM me if you're headed this way. My boys are the same age as yours and we have the summer off too.
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 01-31-2013   #14
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by LSB View Post
PM me if you're headed this way. My boys are the same age as yours and we have the summer off too.
PM me if you'd like to make a midsummer* Gorge run with the kids. My girls are 9 and 11.

*(after peak when the holes get smaller and the big eddylines mellow out)

We've done several late July and August runs at 2,500-4,000cfs.
I'd like to get them on it at 5-7,000cfs.
9-10k is still a touch big for them.
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Old 01-31-2013   #15
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
Alright. I ordered a couple of your book suggestions and will figure out some dates. I'm thinking that I will start putting together a trip once I get some more info and planning time.

My boys are already looking forward to doing a trip! I better not let them down
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Old 02-01-2013   #16
River City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 195
I second that the Allan book is the best guide to camping trips in Oregon. However it is far from extensive. The web and some BLM guides give you some real great info. I'm not familiar with Eastern WA, but as far as Oregon is concerned, East of the Cascades you have some great options for multidays with kids.

The easiest would be the John Day River. There is nice 69 mi float from Clarno to Cottonwood Bridge. The JDR is undamed but should still be flowing in early summer. This stretch is almost entirely class II except one easy class III a few miles below the put in. This stretch is the most scenic and remote part of the river. And the access roads are all paved. A shorter and easier stretch exists upstream. A nice scenic stretch runs from Burnt Ranch to Clarno. But if the kids are looking forward to whitewater this isn't the place. I have no experience with the NF John Day so I'll leave that to others.

For the most action I would check out the Deschutes. It is very forgiving class III and mostly safe pool-drop rapids. There are 2 good camping options. First is putting in at Trout Creek. The only rapid of significance is Whitehorse. Most people run it right. You can run it either way but personally I think running left is easier and much safer if you're wanting to make sure everyone stays in the boat. If I was running this stretch with younger kids I would take out at Harpham Flats. If you want more action you could take out in Maupin or Sandy Beach in order to hit the best rapids on the Deschutes. Deschutes option #2 is from Mack's Canyon to Heritage Landing. This section has a few bigger volume class III's but they are pretty much read and run, hit the wave/hole straight on type of rapids. The Deschutes is a mixed bag for camping trip. It has fun but safe rapids and pit toilets at most campsites. But wilderness camping it is not. It is popular with fishermen and floaters due to its proximity to Portland. And a train track runs the length of both of these sections that will probably wake you up at least once a night.

The Grand Rhonde is a beautiful stretch of river with mild to moderate whitewater that should be flowing most of the summer. The season lasts longer then the John Day. Not as fun of rapids as the Deschutes but much more remote and scenic, and nice camp spots.

Another option is the Snake River through Hells Canyon. It makes for a long shuttle but if you put in at Pittsburg Landing and go to Heller bar you will avoid all the knarly class IV stuff above, but still float through a very cool canyon. This would be big water class II, a little III ish with some fun wave trains. There are some nice campsites. They get nice and sandy below the Main Salmon confluence. Very family friendly stretch of river.

If I were looking to take my family on an introductory multi day trip in the NW but wanted to still keep it safe for the 7yo I would probably either pick the Grand Rhonde or Hells starting at Pittsburg.

A great site for info on many of these river trips is
Whitewater Rafting Campsites | Resources for Planning Rafting Trips

Have fun!
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Old 02-01-2013   #17
Walla Walla, Washington
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 144
I agree with a lot of what's said here about the NF John Day and Grande Ronde. I would recommend hitting the NF first, water can really get skinny there late June. I have run the Grande Ronde down to 750 in a raft and it was a workout dodging rocks. But that 1,000 level gives you easier boating, awesome fishing and warm water.
If you do go down the NF when it starts warming up look out for rattlesnakes. We killed one that was crossing the river two years ago. It was trying to climb in the boat, no joke!
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria.
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Old 02-01-2013   #18
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salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
The nf is a great float for kids... I grew up 10 miles from dale so we run dale to riteman bridge as a day stretch in the spring... Last year we built my brothers multiday frame on April 7th.. it was sunny so we tried it out... It was great... Just make sure if you do it in may or June you keep track of where you are... You can easily do dale to monument in a day.. thats about 40 miles... And it is very snakey.. the closer to monument the worse the snakes get..
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Old 02-02-2013   #19
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
Geez if it isn't bears- it's snakes.... Gotta love the NW.

Thanks guys for the info. Time wise- I think anytime in July will fit my availability.
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Old 02-02-2013   #20
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salmon, Idaho
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
The nf john day is unflotable most julys... But the main jd and grand ronde are still kicking

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