This is a very adventurous run and makes for a long day. Even though the logistics can be staggering I would say that this run is well worth the effort due to some great rapids and amazing scenery.

Rapids on the North Fork of the Smith River

Rapids on the North Fork of the Smith River


To reach the put in get yourself in a 4wd and head north on Highway 101 from Crescent City. You're going to enter Oregon and after you pass the Winchuck River look for County Route 896. Take a right on County Route 896 and follow it until it ends. From here you'll need your own (detailed) map and some good judgment. The idea is to take road 1107 for 20 miles and then take a right on road 290. You're supposed to travel 2.5 miles to the end of the road and carry your boats down a dirt road to the river.

We followed those exact directions but found no road to walk down so we just carried our boats down the side of a hill to some random creek. After reaching this random creek, which we were hoping was the Upper North Fork, two of our fellow paddlers hiked back up the hill. We continued on and portaged log jams for about a mile until we finally found the Upper North Fork.

The River

I remember being awed by the amazing beauty, running great rapids, and portaging several log jams. I also remember being really cold at the confluence with Baldface Creek, a great boof in a rapid towards the end, Aaron swimming, and Dougie locking Kevin's keys in his truck. This was an epic day that I'm looking forward to repeating. Don't bother with this run if you're looking for big drops and some gnar to talk about around the campfire. This is a trip worth doing if you're in for some challenging rapids and some jaw-dropping beauty.