Oregon Hole Gorge (Also referred to as the Middle Fork Gorge) is a classic run on the Smith River. It involves four distinct rapids which change drastically with varying water levels.

The Entrance to Oregon Hole Gorge

The Entrance to Oregon Hole Gorge

Most of the rapids in this rocky gorge can be scouted from paved turnouts along Highway 199. The last rapid, Oregon Hole, is difficult to scout from the road by can be scouted from river level.

Zach and Vlad running Oregon Hole in a Russian Catamaran

Zach and Vlad running Oregon Hole in a Russian Catamaran

The River

There are four distinct rapids in the gorge with adequate recovery pools at moderate flows (about 1000 cfs). At higher flows the first three rapids merge together and the fourth, Oregon Hole, becomes fierce.

The third rapid in Oregon Hole Gorge at moderate flows

The third rapid in Oregon Hole Gorge at moderate flows

The third rapid tends to be the most difficult. There are undercut walls and caves in this rapid that should be taken seriously. At most flows you can catch an eddy on the right side above it to carefully scout and set safety.

Entering the third rapid of Oregon Hole Gorge at low water

Entering the third rapid of Oregon Hole Gorge at low water

The run can be done on its own as a quick dose of adrenalin or it can be done as a continuation of the Mary Adams Run. If you like logistics and driving around with rafts (or kayaks) on top of your car it is also fun to combine this run with a float down the South Fork Gorge for a fun filled day. This will qualify you for a "Two Forks in a Day" patch.