Flat Water Paddling in Portland, OR
About Portland Flat Water Paddling
Portland is a perfect location for the flat-water paddler because of all the water in and around it. Near downtown, the Ross Island paddle is in the middle of the Willamette River, where the waterway bends around downtown. Ross Island is teaming with wildlife, which makes for a perfect escape from city life. It is great for canoers, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders alike. It is right by the heart of downtown and can be an easy paddle to do before or after work.
In North Portland, the Smith and Bybee Wetlands are full of wildlife, with 2000 acres of interconnected lakes and channels of peaceful paddling. It is the largest urban wetland in the country and though it is a little farther than Ross Island from downtown, it is a lot less crowded. The best time to go in terms of water level is in the winter, which is also the best time for wildlife viewing.
Flatwater trips don’t get any closer to downtown than the river that cuts through the heart of it. The paddle around Ross Island is an urban favorite for a fist full of reasons; not the least of which are convenience, stunning city views, and a surprisingly vast array of wildlife.
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