The beautiful Pacific Northwest is covered in delightful creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds, perfect for avid kayak and canoe fans. The Portland, Oregon area is no exception to this and there are many wonderful waterways in the area, plenty within an easy drive of downtown. Grab your kayak and paddle these spots today!
Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, Beacon Rock State Park is best known for its namesake, a towering monolith that offers great views of the river (once you have hiked to the top of it). Less well known is the the surrounding river area of the Columbia that offers a great place to kayak. Take Interstate 14 on the Washington side, then, about ½ mile away from the main park, take the Beacon Rock Moorage Road to reach the park’s docks and ramps to launch your kayak. There is a boat launch fee here, call in advance to check the rates. A large portion of river and connecting waterways may be explored from this extremely scenic location in the Columbia River gorge. However, keep in mind the dangers of big-river kayaking and don’t attempt this unless you are an experienced kayaker. Strong currents, occasional commercial traffic and other dangers can make this a very trick place to have a paddle adventure.
Kelley Point Park and Swan Island
Kelley Point is named after Hall Jackson Kelley, a New England schoolteacher that advocated for greater settlement of Oregon in the 19th century. Sadly, he didn’t get to see many of his plans come to light. The park named after him has just over 100 acres and is located at N Marine Dr & Lombard St. There is a canoe launch in the Columbia Slough in the park, which is downstream from the historical Swan Island area. A public boat launch is available at Swan Island and Kelley Point Park is about 9 miles downstream. The route passes University of Portland, the St. John’s Bridge and several other important landmarks of Portland. Watch out for river traffic in the area and enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds along this kayak and canoe route.
Scappoose Bay Marine Park
A popular location for anglers, kayakers and canoers, Scappoose Bay is located at 57420 Old Portland Road, in Warren, Oregon. There are launch and parking fees here, call ahead to see if they are seasonal. Bathrooms are available but overnight camping is not allowed. Scappoose Bay is fairly easier to paddle around than some of the other locations in the area and is probably a good place for those just getting into the sport of kayaking to try out. There is also a kayak store and a walking trail with interpretive signs.