overnighter near Portland Oregon

There are so many rivers near Portland does anyone know of a ovenighter close by? Looking for flat water. What about shuttles? New to the area have a few books but they don’t mention camping or anything for a overnight

To start with.
You didn’t say whether you already have a boat/boats. If you need to rent a canoe, or kayaks, Portland has some very good sources; Alder Creek, Portland Kayak Co. and Next Adventure to name three. As for a place to go on a paddle camping adventure, the Columbia River is hard to beat. There are many islands to choose from and they’re all free, but no actual improved camping facilities.

The Columbia can be paddled either upstream or downstream depending on a few factors. In the summer, the tide will reverse the current in areas below Kalama, Washington. However, you should be aware that the Columbia can get quite bumpy at times from wind, ship and boat traffic.

I would suggest that you be very careful where you choose to park your vehicle for overnight camping trips. There are some places that I consider to be quite safe, like Scappose Bay, Rainier, Oregon, Vista Park at Skamokawa, Washington and possibly St. Helens, Oregon and Goble.

There are lots of lakes to choose from and I would suggest Merwin , or Yale on the Lewis River, or Mayfield, or Riffe on the Cowlitz River.

In any case, you should be able to get a lot of good advice at Alder Creek, or Portland Kayak Co.

One resource
There’s not much in the way of shuttles for the Columbia Water Trail, unfortunately.

Still, there are many potentials for “out and back” trips.

Here is the major resource-


The interactive map (see the side bar) is particularly well done.

BTW, in Oregon, all land below the high water mark on navigable waterways is public. That means that islands on the Oregon side of the Columbia can be available for free camping. Remember that the river is tidally influenced all the way to the Bonneville dam- some people have had some nasty surprises when their kayaks floated away during the night!

During summer, the two biggest hazards are boat traffic (pleasure craft and commercial) and the afternoon west wind.

For other overnight paddling opportunities, there’s great river paddling on the class III Deschutes and the class II/III John Day river, both reasonably close to Portland, and with established shuttle services.

Doesnt need to be The colombia, i would be happy with the williamette and as for the john day, im not really comfortable with rapids yet even though class II is no big deal. this will be the first time i have kayaked in years just kinda breaking myself in with a few friends.