(7.5 mile bridge to 2 mile bridge)
If you are an intermediate creekboater looking to hone your skills on harder runs, Quartz Creek is one of the best in the upper Willamette Valley. This continuous little alder-lined creek is technical rock dodging at low water and a non-stop class 3-4 slalom at higher flows.
The put-in is a log choked bedrock ledge a hundred yards downstream of the Mile 7.5 bridge. This class 4- ledge is runnable on the far left but some overhanging branches complicate the line. Warm up in the swirling eddy below the ledge because the continuous nature of the creek keeps paddlers occupied almost immediately. About a half mile downstream the creek splits around an island. The main right channel has an obvious horizon line with several vertically pinned logs and a large log forming a pour over. Run the drop far left or better, portage on the island. The next 2.5 miles is mainly class 2+ intermingled with several class 3 drops.
After paddling under the first bridge some large boulders signal the beginning of larger, pushier class 3+ rapids that continue for three quarters of a mile. After this section the creek mellows out a bit and the drops get less concentrated. The last mile contains numerous waves and holes to play in, though some can be a bit shallow. The take out is the fourth bridge over the creek. Below the take out the creek flattens out dramatically and becomes braided and log choked before finally flowing into the McKenzie below Finn Rock.
The area surrounding the creek has been heavily logged, so wood is an ever-present danger. Though this section had no major logjams blocking the creek channel as of December 2001, that could change at any time. Boaters should remain alert for fallen alder and other sweepers, as well as for wood protruding from shore. The general fast pace of the creek could cause problems for swimmers.
How to get there
Take-out (GPS:44o06.487'N, 122o21.302'W)
From Eugene, drive east on Highway 126 along the McKenzie. Turn right onto Quartz Creek Road (FS 2618) just before Finn Rock Store. Cross the McKenzie and continue up Quartz Creek Rd for two miles to where a small road takes off to the right and crosses Quartz Creek, the takeout.
Put-in (GPS:44o03.083'N, 122o19.849'W)
To reach the put in, continue up Quartz Creek road 5.5 miles until you reach a bridge over the creek. The road closely parallels the creek all the way up, allowing paddlers to see much of the creek. Put in on the log choked bedrock ledge a hundred yards downstream of the bridge.
None exists, but a minimum flow seems to correlate with the SF McKenzie at around 1500 cfs (winter) and 1200 cfs (spring). A couple of days of heavy rain are usually needed.
Check out Jason's description of this run.