Willamette Narrows

Portland, Oregon

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South of Portland, the Narrows of the Willamette River are basalt rock formations carved out by the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age Now the Narrows present a rock- based obstacle course of channels and islands that morph dramatically with the water level. The Narrows can run the gamut from a tranquil, easy paddle up to a rollicking thrill ride—and everything in between. Th e channels and islands that form the Narrows grow and shrink with the water level of the Willamette; and as you might imagine, currents, eddies, potential lines, and everything else change commensurately. You never know exactly what you’re going to get until you’re in it. So if you’re a beginning paddler, start with low water levels, familiarize yourself, and work up to the higher water.

Willamette Narrows Professional Review and Guide

"South of Portland, the Narrows of the Willamette River are basalt rock formations carved out by the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age Now the Narrows present a rock- based obstacle course of channels and islands that morph dramatically with the water level.

The Narrows can run the gamut from a tranquil, easy paddle up to a rollicking thrill ride—and everything in between. Th e channels and islands that form the Narrows grow and shrink with the water level of the Willamette; and as you might imagine, currents, eddies, potential lines, and everything else change commensurately. You never know exactly what you’re going to get until you’re in it. So if you’re a beginning paddler, start with low water levels, familiarize yourself, and work up to the higher water."

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Portland
Distance: 1-5 miles
Hazards/Cautions: Minimal in low water; fast current in high water
Season: Year-round
Local Maps: Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas: Page 106 H4–5

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