(2 miles above Molalla River to Molalla River)
I first started wondering about Copper Creek a few years ago when I heard rumours of a waterfall on the creek. Because the access is currently gated, I put it on the back-burner until this year. Although I didn't find any waterfalls, the creek does contain some good rapids and enough wood to keep boaters on their toes.
The river is very continuous right from the beginning. Although there are generally enough eddies to stop and scout when needed, eddies can be small and even non-existent just when you need them most. On my first descent I found myself scrambling to shore several times just in time to avoid hidden logs. Throughout the run fast Class 3 sections are interupted by steeper rapids. There are no real calm sections. About halfway through the run is a powerful 8-ft. ledge in a short bedrock gorge. Portage/scout on the left. Another long, fun rapid lies near the end of the run where a talus slope lines the left bank of the creek.
Boaters can take out on the right at the confluence with the Molalla or continue down through an exciting gorge to Copper bridge.
Copper Creek currently has a lot of wood; some of it in dangerous spots. Be sure to pay attention to eddies and don't run any blind corners. The ledge halfway through the run is powerful and there is some bad wood just downstream. Be sure to set safety below the drop. Scout the first drop in the gorge at the confluence with the molalla if you plan to continue down to Copper bridge.
How to get there
Take-out (GPS:44o55.460'N, 122o20.365'W)
To get to the take-out, drive upstream on the Molalla River road about 14 miles from the Glen Avon bridge. Stay to the right and continue across the Table Rock Fork of the molalla and drive until the road ends at a gate before crosses the Nasty Rock Fork. This is confluence of Copper Creek and the Molalla River. Be sure not to block the gate. Copper bridge is about 0.75 miles downstream of the gate.
Put-in (GPS:44o53.947'N, 122o21.313'W)
To reach the put-in, shoulder your boat and start hiking past the gate. Stay right at any intersections and you will eventually end up at a bridge across Copper Creek.
Visual. If it is ripping at the take-out, it will be extremely hard to stop. The Molalla River near Canby gauge can be used to estimate the flow but it is very far downstream of the run so doesn't always reflect flow in the creek. In general, 2500 cfs on the molalla is probably a good minimum for Copper Creek.