When the weather heats up, folks flock to the water. For paddlers, that typically means hitting one of many nearby rivers.
Next Adventure, a beloved retail hub for the Northwest’s outdoor community, provides rentals as well as guided trips and classes on local rivers, including the Willamette, which is less than a mile from its front door. On the west side of the river, Portland Kayak Company, located 15 minutes south of downtown in the John’s Landing neighborhood, offers rentals, kayaks, canoes, gear, kayak trips and classes.
Take a tour of the second-largest waterfall by volume in the U.S. — by kayak. Guide eNRG Kayaking takes paddlers through natural beauty and industry, culminating in spectacular views of Willamette Falls.
Located an hour southeast of Portland in Mt. Hood Territory, the Clackamas River is one of the state’s most beloved rafting and kayaking runs. Ranked Class III/IV+ (easy to very difficult), it provides a fun ride for old hands and beginners alike. Local outfitters include eNRG Kayaking and Blue Sky, among others.
Scappoose Bay, a long channel feeding into the Columbia River northwest of Portland, teems with great blue herons, bald eagles and seasonal runs of steelhead and salmon. Explore the marshes here with a guided outing from Scappoose Bay Paddling Center. The three-hour wetland tour features beginner-friendly kayaks and frequent sightings of river otters and migratory birds.