South Fork Clackamas River

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South Fork Clackamas River Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
Also known as: South Fork of the Clackamas River.
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Difficulty:3C II (v3a4 II)
Raps:‌4, max ↨200ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Rock type:Basalt
Condition Reports:
14 Sep 2023

"Chest deep water at the Clackamas crossing. Followed an emerging use-path to the old road grade along the west side of the creek which takes you to th

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Best season:


Now open, be mindful with the risks associated with canyoning in recent burns. The soil was scorched and the regrowth can be very overwhelming.

South Fork Clackamas River is a great canyon with high water even in the middle of summer. It is best combined with Memaloose Creek.

Please clean your shoes between each tunnel as a rare and protected species of bat has taken up residence during the winter months.


The attached map is outdated due to the fire.

The best Memaloose approach is to cross the bridge and walk up the closed paved road.

The best S Fork approach is to park at the exit and walk cross the Clackamas river upstream of the gravel bar parking area. The water is chest deep.

S Fork approach you will find logs and pipes crossing a gulley. They are not super good enough and will not support your weight. Use the gulley to the right and be mindful that rockpile is supported by a logjam. Tread lightly. A headlamp is useful in the last tunnel. Watch for bats!


  • R1: 12 feet - Use 40 feet of rope to rappel from log.
  • R2: 50 feet - Use 70 feet of rope to rappel from log in creek. The old swim under log is now standing up.
  • R3: 200 feet - from the anchor to the bottom. DCR, rappel from webbing on a bolt station. Careful of very sharp rocks at the edge!! Pull from across the pool DCL where you can see the anchor. Probably need 280 feet to pull from across the pool. There is a rebelay anchor 70 feet down. Take caution because the pull is very hard from the rappel line due to the sloping rappel start. Its best to do the 200 and pull from across the pool.

Its possible to explore Memaloose Creek ( Bushwacking up to Memaloose is very hard and brushy! Walk the upper road. Its higher and farther but very worth it. R4 is located below the Memaloose Creek confluence.

  • Low water: there's a series of short slides down a groove in the middle of the creek just above R4.
  • R4: 60 foot waterfall. Ghost from tree DCL 50 feet back. No anchors are installed here probably because this is a popular swimming area in the summer. A log jam with very large logs is beginning to form at the base of this falls. Be very careful!


You used to be able to walk down the S Fork and exit. August 2023 - The forest service has pushed 100 large trees into and across S Fork near the Clackamas river and they are terrible to navigate. Exit the S Fork walk/find your way to the Clackamas River. Swim across upstream of the parking area gravel bar.

Red tape


Beta sites

Trip reports and media


Matt Moore from pioneered the descent of these canyons. Original tracks and waypoints provided by Evan Topinka.


Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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