After paddling the Columbia
River last year we decide to do the Willamette River and paddle from
Keizer Rapids Park to West Linn.
This was a 5 day paddle and required coordination with Oregon State Parks
to camp and with the
Willamette River Keepers, without
whose help this trip would have been a non-starter. The River Keepers do have a
map available showing
all the camping sites and contacts. If you are thinking about
doing this paddle the map is well worth the price. To start planning
your paddle go to
Willamette River Trail web to access the map on-line and to
order a hardcopy. Things to consider on this
paddle is the water levels/flow, do it too late in the season and
you'll not have enough water to make it in some sections.
Day 1. We meet in West Linn and consolidate our
vehicles, the plan is to leave a couple here to use as shuttles to
go back and get the rest of the cars. On arrival at Keizer
Rapids Park we find a nice large ramp to launch from. We are
soon packed up ready to head out on our adventure. The first
day is an easy day with only an 8.9 mile paddle. We are
staying at the Arcane Winery
Vineyard on the first night. The Winery is paddle friendly
and will permit camping... and tasting! We have a great
Our hosts surprise use with a frittata in the morning!
What a great way to start day 2.
It is another clear and sunny day and we are soon packed,
have said our goodbyes and are on our way downriver.
We have 10.4 mile paddle today, a nice leisurely pace.
Our distances were governed by camp site availability.
The river meanders through mid-Oregon farm lands on both
sides. Our view of the
surrounding country is limited by the river banks.
We take our time and explore the river as we go.
Our destination is
Five Island, a Willamette River Trails
Site. When we arrive we
find the south end of the island occupied and opt to paddle further
down the island. We find
a nice spot at the northern end of the island.
find suitable tent sites and our camp is quickly established.
It is hot! We
decide to relax by siting in the river on our chairs and having a
cold, or as cold as it gets, one before we cook our dinners! Another pleasant evening.
rouse ourselves in the morning and have breakfast and coffee.
We pack and prepare for another day of paddling.
We have a long day today 16.1 miles.
It looks to be another hot day.
The further north we go the less current we are getting, we
are in the Newberg Pool section of the river.
There is little current here and we are paddling harder.
The water is not as clean as it had been.
We enjoy the river and the scenery as we paddle, we are also
encountering more power boaters on the river.
We take every opportunity to look into and around small river
islands and streams. It
is mid-afternoon when we arrive at
Champoeg State Park.
The parks sits above the river and here is a large dock for us to
use to park and unpack our boats.
The camping area for boaters is about a 100 yards up from the
dock. The temperature
feels like it is in the low 90’s and we are hot!
The park has running water and restrooms. There is hiking in
the park and immediate area.
easy day today 10.4 miles.
We pack our boats and get underway while it is still cool.
It looks like it will be another very warm day.
We paddle about 2 miles downriver and decide to stop in
Butteville and visit the General Store…
great ice cream!
We are soon back underway, enroute to
Molalla State Park.
In the afternoon, about 2 miles from our destination we paddle past
Wilsonville and decide to have
late lunch, early dinner there.
We land our boats at the dock located in Memorial Park.
We hike about 2 miles up to the Red Robin and have a great RR
lunch! No home cooking
tonight. Hot food and
cold drinks! Great.
After the hike back we re-board our kayaks and continue on to
Molalla. Molalla does
not camping but you can contact them for permission,
this is a Willamette River Trails site.
We have running water and restrooms and later in the evening
we have the park all to ourselves.
It was a very warm day with temps in the mid-90’s and no
breeze to help cools things down.
Our last day, we have a short 6.2 mile paddle to West Lynn.
We pack up and head out to finish our paddle.
This turns out to be the most scenic section of the river and
we enjoy paddling around and through Rock Island.
Very nice. A
couple of hours later we are pulling into West Linn and the trip is
over. Time to unpack the
kayaks and get our gear in the cars.
We need to do a shuttle to pick up the cars we left at Keizer
This was a very relaxing and fun paddle, we left this
paddle ready to the rest of the Willamette River next year!