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The Wild and Scenic "Hell's Corner" of the Upper Klamath Rafting trip offers non-stop, fun and exciting Oregon's best whitewater rafting, for most of the year. This upper most, 20 mile portion of the Klamath River is Oregon's only consistent, and without a doubt the best Class 4+ whitewater rafting experience throughout the summer. The section is located between 2 power generating dams, providing consistent water releases throughout the year. This means great Oregon whitewater rafting on the Upper Klamath River. Located in the southern most region of Oregon and nestled between Klamath Falls & Ashland, the UK (as it is known) is close but very remote. Being one of the newest members to federally designated "wild & scenic" rivers in North America makes this adventure one to be experienced.
Upper Klamath River Rafting Trip Highlights
Upper Klamath River History
For many years before the first settlers, the Klamath River was home to the Karok, Modoc, and Yurok Indian tribes. The Klamath was the life blood of the Native Americans who relied on it for its abundance of salmon and trout. The name "Klamath" was derived from an Indian word "Tlamatl" which means "swiftness" in Chinook.
The Gold Rush of 1850-51 brought many miners and left a rich history. The miners caused a terrible disruption in the lives of the Native Americans of the area by damming and diverting water for mining purposes, which made it difficult for spawning salmon and other fish populations. There are remnants of old mining sites, old hotels, brothels and hot spring resorts along the lower portion of the Upper Klamath river.
Only a few years ago the Upper Klamath was known only to a private river runner from Oregon, Jack Leroy. Dean Monroe, head of Wilderness Adventures of Redding, floated the river in 1979 and passed the word that the "Hell's Corner Run" was comparable to the Tuolumne (Monroe invented the name Hell's Corner, wrote a song about the river,and christened most of the rapids as well).
Excerpted from California White Water by Jim Cassady and Fryar Calhoun
In the early 1980s, the town of Klamath Falls proposed to build the Salt Caves Dam. This dam would wipe out the Hell's Corner section of the river. Years of heated debates began. In 1986, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was directed to study the Klamath River for possible induction into "The National Wild and Scenic River System." Finally in 1994, the 11 miles of canyon from the J.C. Boyle Powerhouse to the Oregon-California state line were designated a federal Wild and Scenic River. This designation provides federal and state protection to the outstanding values of the river and its canyon.