ORWS No. 1: East Fork of the Hood River

Kayaking the East Fork of the Hood River

Kayaking the East Fork of the Hood River | Photo: Zachary Collier

Quick Facts

  • Managing Agency: Mount Hood National Forest (USDA Forest Service)
  • Designated Stretch: Highway 35 (near Mount Hood Meadows) to Mount Hood National Forest Boundary
  • Length: 13.5 miles (13.5 miles Recreational)
  • Outstanding Remarkable Values: Wildlife and botany
  • Wild and Scenic River Designation: March 30, 2009 under the 2008 Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146, page 22)

More Information

Celebrated by Zachary Collier by snowshoeing along it's banks on January 3, 2017.


East Fork of the Hood RiverLuke Maddux: Any real kayaker loves to look at rapids and any trip over Mt. Hood means a glimpse at a fine little section of this river you can see from the road. Steep, continuous whitewater ripping around giant, round andesite boulders makes for some of the best rapid watching around. I often have to contain myself when I'm driving by to keep from pulling over, and scrambling down through the forest to look at the bigger rapids you can't see from the road. Kayaking the East Fork means a mach 10 blast through non-stop white-knuckle hole rides and leap-of-faith boofs with maybe an eddy or two in the middle. They are my favorite moments in a kayak without a doubt. Its hard to catch it at the right time and the right crew, but its always worth the effort.

Jesse Becker: The East Fork of the Hood is one of my favorite runs in the Columbia River Gorge. It only comes in for a week or two per year, primarily during snow melt, mixed with some rain. Typically when the freeze level for Mt. Hood rises to around 3500' or higher and the gauge reads between 6-7' with heavy rain, you have a pretty good chance of it running- but you never really know until you get there. This is a roadside run along scenic OR Route 35 south from Hood River, which means that some of it can be scouted on your drive to the put-in, but be cautious, as this run often gets a new log or two every season and only a couple hundred yards of river is scoutable from the road. Small groups of 3-4 paddlers are best on this run, as eddies are small and sometimes non-existent depending on flows. Expect a fairly steep, continuous Class III-IV run at flows around 6', but anything higher should be considered Class IV. The run is only about 2 miles long and filled with padded boofs and fun "thread the needle" type moves! Space out accordingly and drop a shuttle rig off at the bridge just upstream from the Dog River bike trailhead.

Zach Collier: I drive by the East Fork of the Hood when I drive up to Mount Hood from my hometown of Hood River. It's also one of my favorite places to kayak in the late Spring. We put in near Polallie Creek and paddle past the Mount Hood National Forest Boundary where the Wild and Scenic designtaion ends. In the summer I run and in the winter I showshoe along it near Cold Spring Creek where there are great trails up to Tamanawas Falls.

Learn about Oregon Wild and Scenic River No. 2: The Rogue River >>


Northwest Rafting Company Exploratory Division Wild River Life