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Upper Klamath River Rafting Guide
Spilling out of the J.C. Boyle Dam a few miles upstream, the Upper Klamath River has remarkably consistent flows throughout the year. This section of whitewater, offers some of the best continuous action for a Class IV river. In addition, the scenery is incredible, and the area is known for its excellent birding, so keep your head on a swivel. Tackling this river will take you through the notorious Hell’s Canyon, marked by almost continuous Class IV whitewater. This trip can be run as a single day trip, or an overnighter. The Upper Klamath begins in Oregon, but ends up in California, marked by a fitting surf wave right on the California border.
Based in Southern Oregon, Indigo Creek Outfitters is our preferred partner for the Upper Klamath. In addition to the Upper Klamath they operate on the Lower Klamath and Rogue River. Learn more about Indigo Creek Outfitters.
The Upper Klamath is an intermediate to advanced river run. While there are sections that are mellow Class II and III, take into account numerous other challenges such as strainers, and sieves. As a private boater, make sure you join a party that has recent Upper Klamath experience. Please note that the Upper Klamath river has many rapids that are shallow, and the rocks are sharp, so having swimmers here can be very dangerous.
The Upper Klamath begins with several miles of flatwater mixed with Class II & III whitewater. Around mile 4.5, the river constricts and you enter “Hell’s Canyon”, consisting of several miles of very continuous Class IV/IV+ whitewater. This section is sure to be the highlight of your trip, but note that it is notorious for its’ shallow rapids, with sharp rocks, so be very cautious in this area, as you do not want swimmers here. Be sure to scout all three of the big Class IVs in this section (Caldera, Satan’s Gate, & Hell’s Corner).
Unfortunately, Google Maps, is unable to provide accurate routes directly to the Put-In, so please see these directions to arrive to the Put-In. From Ashland, Oregon, travel east on State Highway 66 for approximately 43 miles. Turn right onto J.C. Boyle Powerhouse Road (40-6E-1.2). Follow J.C. Boyle Powerhouse Road (40-6E-1.2) for approximately 4 miles to Spring Island Day Use Site. From Klamath Falls, Oregon travel west on State Highway 66 for approximately 30 miles. Turn left onto J.C. Boyle Powerhouse Road (40-6E-1.2). Follow J.C. Boyle Powerhouse Road (40-6E-1.2) for approximately 4 miles to Spring Island Day Use Site.
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Upper Klamath – Class II, III, & IV
The Upper Klamath is a Class II, III, & IV run from the Spring Island River Access Point and winds its way through Hell’s Canyon to the Access 6 Take-Out