Top Oregon Technical Slot Canyons To Canyoneer
Oregon is a place of stunning beauty. From the rugged rocky coastlines and signature moss-draped forests to the mountains and deep canyons, this is a place that begs to be explored. The spectacular canyons in this state are of various technical difficulties so you can find one that suits you whether you’re a beginner or expert. Just remember to stay safe and cautious and ensure you have the right rappelling and canyoneering gear to see you through.
We can’t cover all the awesome slot canyons in Oregon here but we highlighted some of the interesting ones below:
Munra Creek – Columbia River Gorge
Munra Creek used to be one of the best canyons to explore in Oregon. That was before it was overrun by the Eagle Creek Wildfire in 2017, prompting its closure. It had a relatively short approach with 3.2-mile hike and a low watershed making it good for the early season. This was perfect for those looking to familiarize themselves with technical slot canyons. If you’re planning a trip to the area, make sure you check local closures.
Sardine Creek – Cascade Mountains
Sardine Creek feeds into the Big Cliff Reservoir, running through a beautiful basalt-lined and thick-forested canyon. Canyoneers can choose from three options the Upper or Lower Main Forks or the East Fork. There are several nice waterfalls providing excellent rappels, some into potholes with hydraulics. This, along with frigid water are some of the hazards to watch out for in the canyon.
Lost Creek – Cascade Mountains
Found within the Willamette National Forest, Lost Creek is a hidden gem for canyoneering. It has a 3C II rating and it will only take you about 2-3 hours to traverse the canyon in some of the most scenic surroundings in Oregon. Check the water flow before canyoneering because when there’s high water flow the trip can quickly go from exciting to dangerous. However, natural anchors are in abundance so you shouldn’t have a problem setting them up.
Stafford Creek – Coastal Range
This is a fun short canyon that should keep you occupied for about 5.5 hours. If you and your canyoneering crew are experienced in aquatic canyon techniques, the best time to make your trip to Stafford Creek is in early season when water levels are high. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to wait until summer when the flow diminishes and the canyon becomes more manageable.
Bridal Veil Creek- Columbia River Gorge
Located in the scenic Columbia Gorge, Bridal Veil Creek isn’t one to miss. You’ll have to put up with a steep bushwhack 1.3-mile hike to get to the creek or alternatively you can scramble down the steep hill to get to the trailhead. The descent into the canyon is rather technical with high water flow so watch out for that. Beginner canyoneers who find the going tough can use any of the escapes to bypass the rappels and hydraulics they encounter.