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Umpqua River

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Title: Umpqua River  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of longest streams of Oregon, Oregon Coast Range, Kalapuya, Umpqua River Bridge, Smith River (Umpqua River)
Collection: Landforms of Douglas County, Oregon, Oregon Coast Range, Rivers of Oregon
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Umpqua River

Umpqua River
Fishing in the Umpqua River
Name origin: A Native American word for the locality of the river, later applied to the tribe as well[1]
Country  United States
State Oregon
County Douglas
Source Confluence of North and South Umpqua Rivers
 - location Near Roseburg
 - elevation 362 ft (110 m) [2]
 - coordinates  [3]
Mouth Pacific Ocean
 - location Reedsport
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m) [3]
 - coordinates  [3]
Length 111 mi (179 km) [4]
Basin 4,640 sq mi (12,018 km2) [5]
Discharge for near Elkton, 56.9 miles (91.6 km) from the mouth
 - average 7,343 cu ft/s (208 m3/s) [6]
 - max 265,000 cu ft/s (7,504 m3/s)
 - min 663 cu ft/s (19 m3/s)
Map of the Umpqua River watershed

The Umpqua River ( ) on the Pacific coast of Oregon in the United States is approximately 111 miles (179 km) long. One of the principal rivers of the Oregon Coast and known for bass and shad, the river drains an expansive network of valleys in the mountains west of the Cascade Range and south of the Willamette Valley, from which it is separated by the Calapooya Mountains. From its source northeast of Roseburg, the Umpqua flows northwest through the Oregon Coast Range and empties into the Pacific at Winchester Bay. The river and its tributaries flow entirely within Douglas County, which encompasses most of the watershed of the river from the Cascades to the coast. The "Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua" form the heart of the timber industry of southern Oregon, generally centered on Roseburg.

The Native Americans in the Umpqua's watershed consist of several tribes, such as the Umpqua (a band of the Coquille for which the river is named), and the Kalapuya. These tribes witnessed much of the Great Flood of 1862, during which the Umpqua and other rivers rose to levels so high that even the oldest Indians had never seen a greater flood.


  • Course 1
  • History 2
  • Recreation 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The North Umpqua and South Umpqua rivers rise in the Southern Oregon Cascades, and flow generally west for over 100 miles (160 km) to join approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of Roseburg. In modern terminology, the "Umpqua Valley" is sometimes taken to refer to the populated lower reaches of the South Umpqua south of Roseburg, along the route of Interstate 5. The North Umpqua rises from snowmelt and is considered one of the premier summer steelhead streams in the West.

From Roseburg, the Umpqua flows generally northwest through broad farming valleys in the Oregon Coast Range in a serpentine course past the settlement of Umpqua and the city Elkton. At Elkton, it turns to flow west through a narrower canyon past Scottsburg, which is located at the head of tide. It enters Winchester Bay on the Pacific near Reedsport. It receives the Smith River from the north near its estuary on Winchester Bay. The Umpqua River Light protects ships nearing the mouth of the river.

The Umpqua is one of four major rivers in Oregon that start in or east of the Cascade Range and reach the Pacific Ocean. The others are the Rogue River (in Oregon), Klamath River (flowing from Oregon to California) and Columbia River (flowing from British Columbia to Washington and the Pacific between Oregon and Washington). [7]


The mouth of the Umpqua River on the Pacific Ocean at Winchester Bay

In the early 19th century the river valley was largely inhabited by the Coquille tribe of Native Americans. The tribe ceded most of its land to the U.S. government in the 1854 Treaty with the Umpqua and Kalapuya, agreeing to move to a reservation in Lincoln County as part of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. The river itself is named for the Umpqua, a band of the Coquille.

The Umpqua River valley was inhabited by several different bands of Indians: primarily the Athabaskan-speaking Upper Umpqua, Takelman speaking Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, the Yoncalla (a Kalapuyan people) in the north, and the Quich (Lower Umpqua) from Scottsburg/Wells Creek to the coast. The Quich spoke a language distantly related to Alsea/Yakonan and the Coos Bay languages.

In the Great Flood of 1862, the Umpqua River had the largest flood known to all of the area's Indians at the time, and water was 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) higher than the 1853 flood. It rose from November 3 to December 3, subsided for two days then rose again until December 9. At Fort Umpqua, communication up river was cut off above Scottsburg, and the river was full of floating houses, barns, rails and produce. At Port Orford, the Coquille River swept away settlers' property. Great damage also occurred on the Rogue River and on other small streams.[8]


The Umpqua River boasts some of the world's best fly-fishing, salmon fishing, and sturgeon fishing. Umpqua river fishing is also famous for its small-mouth bass, striped bass, and shad population.[9]

The Umpqua River's headwaters at the confluence of the North Umpqua (left) and the South Umpqua (center)

See also


  1. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003). Oregon Geographic Names, Seventh Edition. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 982.  
  2. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  3. ^ a b c "Umpqua River".  
  4. ^ United States Geological Survey. "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map: Garden Valley, Oregon, quad". TopoQuest. Retrieved 2009-04-20.  River mile numbers are shown on the map.
  5. ^ "Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Water-data report 2007: 14321000 Umpqua River near Elkton, OR" (pdf). United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  7. ^ Benke, Arthur C.; Cushing, Colbert E. (2005). Rivers of North America. Burlington, Massachusetts: Elsevier Academic Press. pp. 573–74.  
  8. ^ Lansing Wells, Edward (1947). "Notes on the Winter of 1861–2 in the Pacific Northwest" (PDF). Northwest Science 21: 76–83. 
  9. ^ Umpqua River RV Park, Camping, Umpqua River Lodging and Information

External links

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