Navigate the rugged Kalmiopsis Wilderness on the Wild & Scenic Chetco River.
In 2011, four of our guides embarked on an exploratory trip down the Chetco River in southern Oregon. Their incredible experience inspired us to try and share this stunning river with our guests so we spent two years working on a commerical permit. In 2013 we were issued the permit and ran the first commercial trip on this special river since 2002.
"When I received the special use application, I considered the review and preliminary decision one of the most important of my career. I have kayaked the Chetco River from Taggarts Bar to the wilderness boundary, and I believe this stretch of river is one of the jewels of the National Wild and Scenic River system. This stretch of river is unsurpassed in its primitive nature. It has an extreme amount of natural resources highlighted by water quality, aquatic habitat, geologic features and biological diversity, just to name a few."
- Excerpt from the decision memo for our permit
This trip is not for the faint-of-heart. You'll be physically challenged, but rewarded with paddling a gorgeous emerald waterway that few people have ever seen.
The 2002 Biscuit Fire dropped thousands of trees across the trail from the Chetco Pass to Slide Creek. We've been working with the Siskiyou Mountain Club to help keep the trail into the Chetco River clear.
The Chetco River is nestled between the better known Smith and Illinois Rivers, both renowned for their stunning clear water and epic whitewater. To reach the remote location, we'll traverse the Kalmiopsis Wilderness by foot and then paddle down the river by inflatable kayak. We'll travel light and pack in only necessary supplies.
When we reach the river, it will be time to pump up and rig the boats. We'll help prep you for the river with an inflatable kayaking 101 course. We'll camp at put-in that night. After a simple breakfast, you'll jump in your kayak for inflatable kayaking 201 as you head down the gorgeous Chetco River.
The upper gorge of the Chetco is beautiful beyond belief. Its tight, intimate canyon is one that should be savored so you'll want to take your time traveling down the Class IV rapids. We'll stop to scout all the big rapids and will portage a few of the bigger ones.
The next couple of days, we'll just enjoy this stunning wilderness. There are many places to stop, swim the crystal-clear pools and take a few side hikes up the small creeks that feed the Chetco.
On day 5, we'll cross the wilderness boundary, where the river opens up on the approach to Tolman Ranch where our trip will end.