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Santiam River

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With its convenient location near Salem and Portland, the North Santiam river rafting trip offers great introductory whitewater. Our half-day and full-day trip options provide lots of swimming opportunities and moments for relaxation. Spencer’s Hole, Carnivore, and Mill City Falls are mild rapids suitable for everyone, whether they be novices or veteran rafters.

Our North Santiam trips combine lively rapids with enchanting cascade mountain scenery. This beautiful stream provides one of the state’s loveliest yet least-known raft tours. Flowing from its source high in the Cascades near Mount Jefferson, the North Santiam runs swift and cool through a lovely forested valley.

The North Santiam River is a great river for wildlife viewing. It’s not uncommon to see osprey fishing in the calm pools, bald eagles perched in riverside nests, and river mink scurrying along the banks. And be on the lookout for salmon jumping for their next meal.

In the Spring, the water levels rise to make the North Santiam a great Class III river. During the summer months, the North Santiam offers a more relaxing pace, mostly class II+ rapids, and sunny skies. The Fall provides beautiful color changes, less crowded waters, and a chance to see migrating salmon. The Santiam River is a great river year-round with a constantly changing character.

The full-day trip continues downriver after lunch through the scenic and more mellow lower section to our take-out at Santiam State Park.


  • Season: March–October
  • Meeting Location: Santiam State Park
  • Meeting Time:
    Half Day: 9:30 AM, 1:00 PM
    Full Day: 9:30 AM
  • Nearest City: Mill City, OR
  • Trip Length: Half and Full day
  • Level/Difficulty: Class II+ (Novice-Intermediate)
  • Our half-day trips on the Lower Clackamas: 6
  • Minimum Total Trip Size: If your group (combined with other groups who have requested the same trip) together total less than 6 then your reservation will be on hold until minimum trip size is met.
    – 6 guest minimum for day trips
  • Your credit card will not be charged until trip is confirmed.


  • Intermediate rafting in the high water Spring.
  • Mild rapids suitable for novices and families in the Summer.
  • Fall provides beautiful color changes, less crowds, and migrating salmon.
  • Multiple options for difficulty levels and sections of the river.
  • Close to Salem and Portland.
  • Beautiful riverside scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities.



For our half-day adventure on the North Santiam River, experience thrilling rapids like Spencer’s Hole and Carnivore, perfect for rafters of all levels. Enjoy plenty of swimming opportunities and moments of relaxation amidst the enchanting cascade mountain scenery.

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Opt for the full-day trip for an extended journey down the scenic North Santiam River, passing through lively rapids and serene forested valleys. After lunch, continue downriver to Santiam State Park, where you can unwind and take in the tranquil surroundings.

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For over 35 years we’ve run whitewater rafting trips on ten of the best rivers Oregon and Idaho have to offer. Our safety record is excellent. Our guides are friendly, skilled professionals. We use only the best, professional quality rafting equipment. And we offer an unsurpassed variety of boats from which to choose: oar rafts, paddle rafts, inflatable kayaks, and our unique, custom designed Row-Your-Own catarafts.

For more about who we are please click or touch more about O.R.E.

Almost anyone can go. No prior rafting experience is necessary, and no prior camping experience is needed for our multi-day trips. We welcome children ages 7 and up on most of our rivers (some options can be 5 years old), and adults of all ages. While we recommend that our guests know how to swim, non-swimmers are free to join us on most trips (with the exception of certain high-water spring trips).

No, even if it’s your first time we have a trip that can work for you.


O.R.E.’s safety record is excellent. That’s because your safety is our number one priority. Running rivers, like other outdoor activities, involves an element of risk. But we work hard to protect your safety and well being. Our guides are trained in river safety and first aid skills. Each trip begins with a thorough safety orientation. Coast Guard Approved life jackets are worn at all times while on the river, and complete first aid and emergency kits are carried on each trip.

Yes, we operate trips even if it is raining. After all, it is whitewater rafting and we enjoy the water. On the rare occasion that conditions warrant it because of safety concerns, O.R.E. will cancel a trip.

Yes, we are unable to accommodate walk-up businesses/customers due to trip planning etc.  Day trips can fully book up for the weekends during the summer, so it is best to reserve early. Mid-week trips and spring/fall trips are not as busy.

We provide top-quality professional rafting equipment, including U.S. Coast Guard Approved lifejackets, helmets, and other safety gear.


In general, you will only need to bring your own river-appropriate clothing, footwear, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, a change of clothes, and a water bottle for day trips. Full-day trips include a freshly prepared deli lunch.


Please note that our policies vary for day trips and multi-day trips. 


Deposits and payments: Half-day and full-day trips require payment in full when the reservation is placed. (Exception: If more than seven days remain before the trip begins, groups of ten or more may call to reserve with a $25 per person deposit.)


Cancellations, Transfers, and Refunds:

Please notify us as soon as possible if you find it necessary to cancel your reservation. Because we lose the ability to sell reserved spaces to other individuals or groups, we strictly adhere to the following policies:


  • 7 Days or More Advanced Notice: Choose to receive a refund of your deposit or transfer your reservation to another trip, less a $25 per person cancellation fee.
  • 6 Days or Less: No credits or refunds will be issued if you cancel 6 or fewer days prior to a day trip.


Please note that cancellation fees may apply to cancellation of the entire reservation as well as to partial cancellations (for instance, a reduction in your party size from six to five).

Yes! We partner with a local guide and offer this as an option for those looking to fish along their trip. Click here for more details, and be sure to read below for information regarding fishing license requirements. 

You will need to check the local fishing regulations as we operate in many different river locations. You will need a fishing license for the state that you are in. Both Idaho and Oregon offer daily passes and annual for in-state and out-of-state residents. Youth ages 12 and under in Oregon and 14 in Idaho do not require a license.


You will be able to fish from campsites and at lunchtime, but we cannot guarantee that you will be able to fish from the rafts while we are moving downriver. If you’re interested in having a fishing guide and an assigned raft for fishing let us know, we may be able to arrange on request.


Plan a perfect river excursion with all the right information at your fingertips. Learn about our stunning locales, explore our detailed gear book, or reach out with any other questions so we can make your trip as smooth as possible.