• Starting Point Portland Boathouse - RM 13.5
  • End Point Cathedral Park - RM 6
  • Why this Trip

    This is a fascinating and seldom paddled stretch of the Willamette.

  • Conditions and Equipment

    Works well for sea kayaks and canoes. Large tugs and boats can create significant wakes, which can be especially difficult if you are next to hardened surfaces where the waves rebound.

  • Amenity Highlights

    On weekdays, parking at the Portland Boathouse is limited to “2 hour visitor parking” spaces, or anywhere after 3pm. On the weekends, you may park anywhere in the lot. Restrooms are located inside of the building. Depending on water levels and weather, the ramp can be steep and/or slick. You can also launch from the small beach under the Hawthorne Bridge. There are restrooms at Cathedral Park near the boat ramp.

  • Trip Description

    Admire 8 of Portland’s iconic bridges from a unique perspective while paddling past massive ships, and observing historic riverside industries both past and present. This industrialized stretch is undergoing a significant cleanup. The wildlife here may surprise you.

    Cathedral Park can be accessed from North Edison Street and Pittsburgh Avenue at the east side of the St. Johns Bridge.

  1. Portland Boathouse Dock

      1. Public Dock/Transient Use
      2. Vehicle Access/Parking
      • River Mile 13.5
      • Latitude 45.51112
      • Longitude -122.66786

    This facility offers canoes, kayaks, and rowing shells ready access to the river. After many years, the Portland Development Commission committed to construction of the boathouse as part of the…

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  2. Eastbank Esplanade Firehouse Dock

      1. Restrooms-Seasonal, Rustic
      2. Vehicle Access/Parking
      • River Mile 13.25
      • Latitude 45.51328
      • Longitude -122.66864

    This dock provided access just downstream of the Hawthorne Bridge. There is nearby pay parking, plus a path leading to the dock. This dock is relatively high, so it can…

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  3. East Bank Esplanade Dock

      1. Restrooms
      • River Mile 12.5
      • Latitude 45.52523
      • Longitude -122.66617

    This dock can make a good spot to get out and stretch. Its usefulness for put-in and take-out is limited by the parking and long walk. The dock is relatively…

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  4. Swan Island Boat Ramp

      1. Boat Ramp
      2. Vehicle Access/Parking
      • River Mile 9.75
      • Latitude 45.56248
      • Longitude -122.70604

    This boat ramp is protected from the main river, located as it is at the end of the alcove on the inland side of Swan Island Peninsula.

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  5. McCormick & Baxter Site

      • River Mile 7
      • Latitude 45.5777
      • Longitude -122.74291

    This area, with a recently planted bank and upland area, has been cleaned up significantly from its earlier, highly contaminated condition. The site’s decades-long use as a wood treatment facility…

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  6. Willamette Cove

      • River Mile 7
      • Latitude 45.58081
      • Longitude -122.74488

    In 2012, it was announced that Willamette Cove has high levels of lead contamination in the sand and should be avoided, the¬†Oregon Health Authority¬†says. The beach property was a former…

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