Salmon River Gorge
1983 Anniversary
Expedition to the 
Lower Falls

In the early 1980s, I was involved in a student effort to designate a wilderness area for the Salmon River and surrounding backcountry. While researching the history of the Salmon River, I was surprised to learn that the chain of waterfalls in the Salmon River Gorge had only been officially named in 1963. I had hiked the Salmon River trail many times, but had only glimpsed the falls from the trail, which skirts high above the Salmon River Gorge. The exception was Little Niagra Falls, an abrupt 15 foot torrent, that I had bushwacked to some years before. The volume and scale of that falls - the smallest of the named falls on the Salmon - compelled me to visit the other falls that were named in 1963

In the spring of 1983, I organized two expeditions with college friends from Oregon State University to visit the depths of the Salmon River Gorge. These trips to the falls were a 20th Anniversary tribute to the original Oregon Geographic Names Board (OGNB) expedition that visited and named the falls in the summer of 1963. My 1983 tribute expeditions included Dave O'Dell, Jon Osborn and Doug Lorain, who appear in some of the photographs that follow.

The second of the 1983 missions was to Final and Frustration, the last in a chain of six named falls. Final Falls is the name proposed in1963 by W. Kirk Braun for the 45 foot falls located just upstream from Copper Creek. Final Falls plunges into a deep bowl, inaccessible to hikers. An unnamed 15 foot falls is located 50 yards upstream from Final Falls, and is referred to as Upper Final Falls in these pages.

Braun proposed the name Frustration Falls for the next major cataract in the string. It is located approximately 200 yards above Final Falls. The name aptly describes a falls that is nearly inaccessible to hikers. Frustration Falls drops 55 feet in an elaborate series of shelves and steps. A small tributary drops into the gorge created by Frustration Falls, floating nearly 200 feet down the canyon wall in a thin veil. This falls is referred to as Little Frustration Falls in these pages.

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These photos are ©Tom Kloster 1983, and may not be used without permission

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