Rivers are dynamic waterways, which is part of what makes paddling them so enjoyable; and yet, by their very nature they present risks to those traveling them. Currents, channels, and levels of the Willamette can change dramatically with the seasons. You are responsible for your own safety at all times, so paddle smart, and take classes!

The Willamette is a very accessible river for paddlesport¬†enthusiasts, however, even a self-proclaimed “experienced” paddler is not necessarily a “competent” paddler.

  • Do you know how to “read the river” so you can recognize and avoid hazards?
  • Can you maneuver your boat in current?
  • Can you self-rescue, or rescue another paddler?
  • Do you know how to dress appropriately for the water to avoid hypothermia?

These local businesses provide a variety of instructional services that can help you learn to execute safe and enjoyable river trips for years to come!


  • Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe

    • 200 NE Tomahawk Island Dr
      Portland, OR 97217
    • 503-285-0464

    Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe is one of the premiere paddlesports stores and instructional centers in Oregon, and has three greater Portland area locations to serve all of your paddling needs, including rentals. Whether you paddle whitewater kayaks, sea kayaks, recreational kayaks, canoes, SUP boards or rafts, Alder Creek has the boats and gear you need to get out on the water and the classes to elevate your paddling skills.

  • eNRG Kayaking

    Located in Downtown Oregon City, our shop is your gateway to paddle sports in the Portland area. Rent a kayak or take a guided tour to Willamette Falls, directly from our shop! Or join us for a scenic float on the Lower Clackamas just 10 minutes from the shop!

  • Next Adventure

    • 704 SE Washington Ave
      Portland, OR 97214
    • 503.233.0706

    Next Adventure is Portland’s alternative outdoor store. Whether you are a kayaker, climber, snowboarder, hiker, camper, skier, cyclist, mountaineer, or just someone who loves the outdoors, come visit us and let us help you with your next adventure! Next has an expanded location dedicated to paddlesports.

  • Oregon Paddle Sports

    • 520 Commercial Street
      Eugene, OR 97402
    • 541.505.9020

    Oregon Paddle Sports is your retail home for paddling and rafting in Eugene, Oregon and Lane County: sales, classes, & rentals available.

  • Portland Kayak Company

    Your source for quality kayaks, canoes, paddling gear, kayak trips, kayak classes, and kayak & canoe rentals in Portland, Oregon.  We also offer unforgettable kayaking vacations to Baja, Mexico.