• Starting Point Hawthorne Bridge - 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 canoes and sea kayaks. Large tugs and boats can create significant wakes, which one should be cognizant of if you are next to hardened surfaces where the waves rebound.

  • Amenity Highlights

    On weekdays, a parking lot located at SE Water Ave & SE Clay in Portland has been limited to “2 hour visitor parking” spaces, or anywhere after 3pm. On the weekends, traditionally one may park anywhere in the lot. Recently the new ownership of the building has created some uncertainty about parking – Willamette Riverkeeper will update when we get clarification. Depending on water levels and weather, the public ramp located off of the East Side Esplanade path 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 riverside industry both past and present. This industrialized stretch is undergoing a significant cleanup due to its Superfund designation. Thousands of cubic meters of contaminated sediment will be removed over time. 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

    LoadingThis 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

    LoadingThis 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

    LoadingThis 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

    LoadingThis 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

    LoadingThis 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

    LoadingIn 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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