When the magnificent waterfalls of the Salmon River were first discovered and named in September 1963, none of the early explorers could have imagined that someday, daring kayakers would actually run all but towering Stein Falls. Even as recently as the 1980s, kayak descents over cataracts like Frustration and Final Falls were considered impossible.

But by the late 1990s, a new breed of kayakers were running ever-larger waterfalls, and the massive cascades of the Salmon River were suddenly rediscovered by adventurers seeking the most extreme kayaking experiences. These pioneering runs are chronicled on the Oregon Kayaking website, and provide an exciting virtual tour of the canyon from a completely new perspective.

Scouting trip following the first known descent in 2001

"The Salmon River Canyon may just be the Mount Everest of Oregon Kayaking. Huge, marginally portageable waterfalls combined with crumbly, near-vertical canyon walls and questionable rescue possibilties make this a very serious venture indeed..."

(See more of this initial scouting mission of the waterfalls of the Salmon River Gorge)

Fourth known descent on November 10, 2001

"As recently as ten years ago the upper section of Oregon's Salmon River Canyon was considered by many to be unrunnable. Paddlers had peered down into this massive crack in the earth and could see no way to survive the crux section, which appeared to contain several unrunnable, unportageable waterfalls. In one sense they were correct...."

(See more of this harrowing account of the fourth known descent of the Salmon River)


First no-portage descent on May 11, 2002

"Frustration [Falls] drops about sixty feet over three tiers, with the final drop landing in a 'room' with undercut walls. The difficulty with Frustration at higher flows is that the water divides below the first tier, and if the flows become too high, the secondary falls coming in just downstream of the main drop blocks the exit from the 'room'. This disturbing fact had always kept paddlers out of The Canyon..."

(See more of this brief account of the first no-portage descent)

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