Whether it’s paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, or kayaking, Oregon boasts an impressive array of recreational water activities. With the diversity of its waterways, kayaking is a great sport for novices and seasoned veterans alike. Today we’re sharing some must-try spots for your next paddling adventure on the water.
Before you start: we’ve curated a definitive list of our top five favorite kayaks under $500 for 2019 – feel free to check it out!
About an hour and twenty minutes west of Portland lies Tillamook. This county (and identically named town) offers plenty of bays and coastline to explore. With sand bars, rocky shorelines, and giant sea stacks jutting out just off the coast, Tillamook county will become a favorite of any kayaker.
Tillamook county offers perfect opportunities for both beginners, advanced kayakers, and everyone in between. For the truly new, there is even Kayak Tillamook County, which offers both sight-seeing and instructional tours.
Tillamook Bay, Netarts Bay, and Nestucca Bay are just a few of the waterways you can explore. The Tillamook Bay watershed alone is fed by five rivers, which you can also paddle. If you’re looking for something a little calmer, you can check out nearby Sand Lake or Salmon River.
If you’re in search of calm waters and scenic views, Sparks Lake is the place. Located just 40 minutes west of Bend in Deschutes National Forest, this lake can become rather busy. If you plan your trip just right, though, you won’t regret it and will see why it’s such a popular spot!
370 acres of clear, mirror-like water surrounded by evergreen forests make for a relaxing kayaking trip at Sparks Lake. Mountain views are abundant too with Broken Top, Mount Bachelor, and South Sister all visible nearby. With a maximum depth at roughly 7 feet, even beginners will feel comfortable cruising this lake.
Willamette River Trail
The Willamette River offers a 185 mile nationally designated water trail. With plenty of launching spots along the way, you can either spend a few hours on the river or a few days! Just don’t forget to arrange pick up before hand.
Most areas of this trail are perfect for novices, but depths and the speed of the water can change after heavy or extended periods of rain, of course, so be sure to take this into consideration before your trip. With the length of this river, you can afford a several day long adventure on the water, taking advantage of the designated camps along the way.
Aside from views of the Willamette Valley, be prepared to spot plenty of wildlife too! Beaver, deer, and water birds, such as heron, all frequent the waters and shorelines.
For the intermediate to advanced kayaker, many areas of the White River, near Maupin in the northern part of the state, offers rapids, seclusion, and views alike. The upper section offers an especially fun 12 mile long run of rapids.
Launching from the Keeps Mill Campground, this section of river is rated as Class II with areas of III and IV mixed in, so you’re sure to have some excitement! Many areas tend to collect wood, so be aware on your trip. Speaking of wood, there are several spots where you may need to duck under logs during high water times too! There is also at least one area you will need to port your boat out of the water around a particularly large tree.
As you can imagine, this kayak trip is not for the faint of heart!
Whether you’re just “testing the waters” of kayaking or a self-proclaimed pro, you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities to hit the water, no matter what part of the state you’re in.
Have you been to one of the kayaking destinations on our list? Tell us about it in the comments!