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South Santiam River

The mainstem of the South Santiam River flows through a very lovely and serene canyon with scenic vistas, old-growth forests, and cascading waterfalls. Easy access from the Over-the-River and Through the Woods National Scenic Byway (Highway 20) leads to trails to the Menagerie Wilderness, Rooster Rock and numerous natural wonders. Overlooking the headwaters is the iconic Iron Mountain.

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The historic Old Santiam Wagon Road that follows the south bank has been converted to a well-trod trail accessing numerous fishing sites as well as old growth groves. Camping is available at five campgrounds. Fishing spots are available at numerous locations along the river, including an accessible platform at Yukwa Campground. The Walker Ranch, hosting a winter elk herd, has been designated for wildlife viewing. Birders enjoy traveling the Over the River and Through the Woods National Scenic Byway on the Mt Jefferson Loop of the Cascades Birding Trail in search of many bird species, year round.

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The South Santiam, and its major tributaries, have been nominated for Wild and Scenic River status by the Friends of Douglas-Fir National Monument and others. You can review the South Santiam Nomination here. You can find information on how to support the nomination here.

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