Oregon Hole Gorge

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Northern California

Oregon Hole Gorge Paddling Guide

Oregon Hole Gorge, also known as the Middle Fork Gorge, is a classic run near the California-Oregon border. The class IV+ run is only 2.3 miles, and has four primary rapids. Easy highway access to the 199 means that many boaters opt to run laps on this section. Many also Oregon Hole Gorge as a warm-up for a run on the South Fork of the Smith later in the day. For boaters looking to extend their time on the Middle Fork, it is possible to start a couple of miles upstream of Oregon Hole Gorge and warm-up on a class II stretch called Mary Adam’s.

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Highway 199 Road Access to Forks Access Boat Ramp  – Class IV

Oregon Hole Gorge is a 2.3 mile, classic stretch of whitewater. It is possible to extend the stretch by starting further upstream on the class II Mary Adam’s section. Many boaters warm-up in Oregon Hole Gorge and then run the South Fork Gorge. Check out our South Fork Gorge Guidebook.

Mile 0 – Put-In:

It is a short walk upstream from the Highway 199 parking to the put-in beach.

Mile 0.59 – Entry Rapid:

Class IV. Welcome to the Gorge. At most flows, a left run is preferable in Entry Rapid.

Mile 0.65 – Nozzle Scout:

It is common to pull off onto the beach on river left just before Nozzle rapid and scout from the rocks.

Mile 0.68 – Nozzle Rapid:

Class IV+. Left scout. Nozzle is a center-to-right run.

Mile 0.8 – Hole in the Wall:

Class IV+. Right scout. Center-right run to avoid the undercut wall on river left. At lower flows, there is an exposed sieve on river right that is to be avoided.

Mile 1 – Oregon Hole Rapid (IV):

Class IV+. Left Scout. Oregon Hole is the final significant rapid of the Gorge. It is a two-part rapid, with a large drop at the top of the rapid followed by a sharp bend to the right. Run the left drop at the top of the rapid and then immediately work to the right to avoid getting pushed into a nasty rock on the left side of the downstream turn.

Mile 2.3 – Forks River Access Take-Out:

Take-out for the Oregon Hole Gorge section.