Midwest to Northwest - Canoe advice?

I recently moved from the Midwest, where most of the rivers I was on were typically low water, rocky, and not to wild. I’m now in Oregon, close the McKenzie. I’m still learning the area and the water. It seems that most people raft the McKenzie and similar rivers. The boats I own:

Mohawk 17" Intrepid

Mohawk 12" Sportsman w/ float bags

Wenonah 16.6" Jenson C1W

I love all my boats, but I’m wondering if I need to swap them around to get a boat that will handle the rougher water. I’d like to have a tandem and a solo. I’m willing to move all three boats if need be.

Again, I’m still learning the water in this area. But I’d like to do more river touring that lake cruising. The tandem would be the river tripping 2-3 night boat. And the solo would be my hit the water for a few hours boat.

I appreciate any recommendations on boats, as well as websites, books, companies, etc…

(In order to get a new boat, I’ll have to sell what I’ve got in order to foot the bill)

New canoe?
I would try a few trips in your current boats first. If you like them and can paddle them well I don’t think any of them is unsuited to big, rough water.

If you have to change there is always the Wenonah Rogue and Rendezvous.


– Last Updated: May-19-08 10:57 AM EST –

There are a couple books, one called, "Paddling Oregon's Quiet Waters", and I know there's another dealing with white water but I don't recall the name. Have you been into the paddle shop in Eugene? They may or may not be helpful, I've had mixed dealings with that place. Also, they deal mostly in kayaking, and less so with canoeing. Imo, some of the coastal rivers would make nice overnight camping-paddling as the rivers get closer to the sea. They are never used except by fisherman. The only problem, and it's a big problem, is the wind as the air warms up late morning-midday.

Welcome to rain country
That lead is is with a smirk.

We have great summers, and a lot of rivers. Some are only good to paddle during the rainy season, some are best during spring snow melt, a few are good all year. You are going to have fun exploring all the possibilities. And wait 'till you find out that nearly 2/3rds of the state is desert.

For books, “Oregon’s Quiet Waters” was mentioned, but I believe it is long out of print. Check Powell’s books for used copies. The book has a focus on lake paddling, of which there is a lot. If you like bird watching, take a canoe to the Klamath basin area. For serene beauty and crystalline waters, Waldo Lake is often mentioned.

But if it is river canoeing, especially 2-3 day trips, it is definately whitewater, and there is a lot.

Your Intrepid just might be a good boat for many of the rivers, such as the John Day (generally class 2, but the 70mile Clarno to Cottonwood section has a rather nasty class 3, with a portage trail worn into a trench). For the Owyhee, the Deschutes, and the Grande Ronde, you will need something more specific to river touring. The Deschutes in particular is big water class 3. All read 'n run rapids, nothing particularly tricky, but will swamp most canoes. Same for the Owyhee.

Personal favorites are the Wenonah Rogue (one of the dryest rids in big water, slightly better cruising on the flat sections, but not especially manuverable), or the Esquif Canyon (one of the better ones to solo paddle). Bell Alaskans and Yellowstones are nice, but some think they are a bit of a wet ride (same for the wenonah cascade). Mad River’s Explorer was a local “go-to” boat for years, but seems to have fallen out of favor (again, wet ride but more often complaints of sluggish acceleration). Mad River is making the old Dagger Legend 16, and it also has a good rep.

My personal fave is the Canyon, but not so much that I would go the trouble of selling my Rogue.

Here are some links to some pics of canoeing the Oregon desert rivers-





The paddlers on th John Day sections are Jon and Kirti Walpole- paddling my Rogue!

There are two good books on Oregon whitewater, and I think it helps to own both. Soggy Sneakers is one, Paddling Oregon by Rob Keller is the other. There are also specific books on the John Day.

Good journeys!