The first known kayaking descent on the Soda Fork was made in 1988. Both upper and lower are short but packed with fun rapids and are often paired with a trip down the Canyon Creek run for an exciting day-trip.
Lower Soda Fork is Class III and IV rapids. Best run at higher water levels this half-mile of steep rapids on the Upper Soda Fork is a super fun, roller coaster ride down a series of non-stop slides and ledges up to 8 feet tall. The creek is wide and scenic; a beautiful accompaniment to the naturally created water ride. This ride is too short for a single trip and is usually combined with nearby runs on the South Santiam River.
Located 25 miles east of Sweet Home on Hwy 20 at Upper Soda, turn north just before the bridge across the Soda Fork Creek. Travel up the road along the Soda Fork for .88 miles until you reach a bridge, put in here. To take out you must travel past Upper Soda and take out on the South Santiam River. To take out on Hwy 20 about 200 yards west of the bridge you will see a nearly invisible road going into the woods on the south; this leads to a meadow with a couple of trails down to the river.
Upper Soda Fork is 1.37 miles of Class V rapids. The put-in for the Upper Soda Fork is deceptively placid and loggy, however, a few hundred yards downstream the creek tilts on edge and changes instantly from a sleepy little stream to a foaming pile of huge, stone congested white water. The narrow, powerful rapids are jam-packed with boulder gardens covered in moss and interspersed with fallen trees. Scouting or portaging the rapids is easiest on the right side of the river. The scenery is pretty nice with large mossy boulders and lots of trees but the creek will probably have your full attention! Downstream the gradient cools off slightly but the rapids are still really good. Much too short for a single trip, this section is usually combined with a run down nearby Canyon Creek.
Located up Highway 20, 25 miles east of Sweet Home at Upper Soda, turn north just before the bridge across the Soda Fork Creek; 2.25 miles to the second bridge. Put in at this bridge. While there, be sure to check out the gigantic 6+ foot diameter old growth Douglas fir. Take out at the first bridge 1.37 miles down steam unless water is high enough to continue down to the Lower Soda Fork takeout site.