Flow: Canton Creek contributes perhaps 1/3 of the flow of Steamboat Creek, so you will have about 1/3 of what the gage reading says, although this is a very rough form of estimate. Every time I have seen the two creeks Steamboat has had considerably more water than Canton, but I have heard of the ratio ending up unusually backwards - that is to say, Steamboat having one third and Canton two thirds. Use your eyes and your own better judgment.
I didn't have a very religious childhood. But when I think of a church I have a certain image in my mind. I usually picture a tall stately building made of some type of rock or brick. If you live in Roseburg you might think of a church as a building made of aluminum siding with a big plastic sign in front with the name of the church on it. Sometimes churches like these have inspirational messages on the signs. Sometimes they have messages that are supposed to be humorous like "In the dark? Then follow the son!" - or - "Be an organ donor - give your heart to Jesus!" From the tallest most awe inspiring cathedrals of Europe to the most intricate mosque of Morocco, one can rest assured that even if religion has failed to unite the world in a common love for peace and harmony, at least it has produced some illustrious architecture. Then there's Roseburg. What does this have to do with Canton Creek? Nothing, except that you have to drive through Roseburg to get to Canton Creek if you're coming from I-5.
Canton Creek is a tributary of Steamboat creek, which in turn flows into the North Fork of the Umpqua River. It is a great creek if you want continuous class III and easy class IV rapids. At moderate flows I think you could compare it in difficulty and character to the Box Canyon run of the Sacramento River. I feel that this is a compliment to the river by the way. Box Canyon is more of a pool and drop type of run with rapids that are a little more defined, whereas Canton is a little more continuous. Being a creek that runs primarily from runoff you should expect to find at least a few logs. As of February, 2007 the worst of the logs were visible from the road.
Your options for putting in and taking out seem to be plentiful on this run. We put on just upstream of the 9 mile marker. After some fun and continuous paddling we came to a class V rapid that we portaged. It is about 1.5 miles into the run and there is a metal orange plate on a tree on river right just at the lead in. (I didn't read what was on the plate but it looked like some official government thing). You can portage or scout on either side. It had a manky top part and ended in an 8-foot re-circulating pile of water backed up by a rock At flows above 1000 cfs it might be easier and smoother to sneak the run on the right, but at our flow it just looked junky and not much fun for a class V rapid. Following this rapid the river returns to its benign characteristic nature. After about the 3rd mile you should go under the bridge for the first time, putting the access road on river left. I won't attempt to describe the scenery because my words won't do it justice. My limited photography skills probably don't do it justice either:
After crossing under the road for the third time you will come to a 20-foot waterfall Scout well above the waterfall because the rapids directly above are a bit tricky. The middle part of the waterfall is crammed with 2 logs and the right side looks like mayhem and brutality waiting to happen, so the river left side is probably the only sane option. At our flow it wasn't a great waterfall being that it was very bony and a good way to abuse a boat.
Following the waterfall are a couple more short class IV rapids Unlike the upper part of the run where everything is pretty much boat scoutable you might want to take a quick look at these. When we drove to the river I was picturing a creek with tight narrow banks and lots of eddy hopping and scouting, but at our flow it seemed like a good run for play-boats. To make this more of a play-boat type run you might consider putting in at the top bridge and taking out at the bottom bridge, thus avoiding the manky class V rapid and the waterfall etc.
To get to Canton Creek from I-5 simply take Highway 138 through the aforementioned town of Roseburg to the north-east for about 35 miles until you get to Steamboat Creek Road. Follow Steamboat Creek Road for about half a mile and you will come to the confluence with Canton Creek. This is obviously your lowest option for a take out unless you want to continue down Steamboat Creek etc. To get to the put in continue up Canton Creek Road to the mile 9 marker and look for a pull out near the river. As mentioned earlier, there are at least a couple of options to shorten the run.
Narrative and photos all copyright 2007. Contact Peter Gandesbery. This page was last updated Mar 7, 2007.