At 179,755 acres, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness is one of the largest wilderness areas in Oregon and quite possibly, one of the most beautiful places you have never heard of. Flowing through the heart of it, the Wild and Scenic Chetco River takes a rough and tumble path from its source near Chetco Peak down to its mouth at the city of Brookings. While its upper stretches are defined by narrow gorges and boulder congested rapids, the river begins to transition into a broad channel and lush forestlands the closer it gets to the Pacific.
"This is the perfect trip for an adventurous soul who wants to see a beautiful river canyon few have ever seen."Zach Collier
Located right in the midst of that transition, a trip through the Chetco’s lower gorges provides guests the opportunity to experience some of the river’s most impressive rapids as well as a coastal forest that includes the world’s northernmost grove of redwoods. Trips begin at the end of the Wilderness section of the Chetco at Tolman Ranch and procede through many Class III and IV rapids that are perfect for inflatable kayaks. Unlike the upper section, we can access this part of the river by road and will drive to put-in.
The Lower Gorges of the Chetco River are only runnable at low water when it is possible to portage around two of the biggest rapids: Candycane and Conehead. Many of the other rapids also require scouting and at times there will be additional portages. Guests must be physically fit and have experience with inflatable or hardshell kayaks. Each member of the expedition will carry their own gear in their kayak for the length of the trip.
This trip meets in Brookings, Oregon which happens to be near Agness, the take-out of our Rogue River trips. Guests could easily combined a 4-day trip down the Rogue with this incredible opportunity to kayak the Lower Gorges of the Chetco River.