First the good news: The Salmonberry River is a great intermediate run with lots of great rapids and beautiful scenery. Now the bad news: The long shuttle and steep road to the put-in combine to make any run on the Salmonberry a long day and usually reduces the frequency of Salmonberry trips.
The Salmonberry River is located in an isolated canyon just north of the more popular Wilson River. Access to the river is limited to only a few places which makes hiking out of the canyon difficult in the event of an emergency. There is an active railroad along the length of the run that is the best option if considering hiking out of the canyon. There are many views of the canyon rim some 1000 feet above the river as boaters travel the river.
From the put-in at the bottom of Beaver Slide Road the river consists of continuous Class 3 rapids which are pleasantly technical at low water and a consistent flush at high water. At the confluence of the North Fork Salmonberry about 1.5 miles from the put-in, the river broadens, short pools develop in between rapids and the rapids begin to develop bigger hydraulics. There are two significant rapids within a mile of the North Fork Confluence. The first rapid, Class 3+, is a long boulder garden just upstream of a railroad tunnel. Scout on the left. The second rapid, Chew-Chew(Class 4), is about 0.5 miles downstream just after Bathtub Creek enters on the left. Chew-Chew begins with a steep drop over some boulders and finishes with a few pushy waves and holes. Most people choose to punch several holes on the far left or boof the large boulder in the center. Scout/portage on the right.
Below Chew-Chew the river continues through several fun Class 3-3+ rapids until it gradually flattens out. There are some great views of the canyon in this section. The rapids pick up again as boaters approach the take-out. Take-out under the road bridge on river-right or farther downstream on the right at the railroad bridge.
How to get there
Put-in (GPS: 45o42.361'N, 123o29.693'W)