Suggestions for kayak weekend trip in WA

Hey guys, I’m looking for a fun weekend kayak trip in WA state. I live in Seattle so something on this side of the state. This will be my first trip so I was wanting either a big lake that Would be fun to go around and find some campsites or a calm river since I’m not experienced in white water or anything and have only ever done lake kayaking. If anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly appreaciated!! Thanks

Freshwater only?

– Last Updated: May-20-16 7:47 PM EST –

So no sea kayaking? What boat do you paddle? I've REALLLLLY been wanting to do Lake Diablo but haven't researched put-ins much. I've only been here 6 months.

a full

– Last Updated: May-20-16 8:22 PM EST –

wetsuit with booties is required/essential/advised/necessary...

check out the Skagit from Concrete to ?

or from the next two SP's upstream. The first requires a yak cart or a carry.

There's San Juan CO. Park above Lime Kiln or the Park across from Shaw Island.

Paddle from park to Lime Kiln if the tides are OK. There are tours. Weather is best during an approaching Hi from Tofino...

Read Washburne's book on kayaking the area.

The KOA has room...

Not sure…

– Last Updated: May-20-16 8:32 PM EST –

If those suggestions are for me or the original poster. If me, thank you :) if the OP I think sending to SJI with no open water experience would be ambitious.

Columbia River
How about the Columbia River. Most of the islands above Skamakowa are open for camping.

Watch for currents and big ships.

Weather, equipment

– Last Updated: May-21-16 8:49 AM EST –

dependent kayaking.

The Skagit trips down to the salt water are stable wind wise. Look thru topo's for camping. West Coast Paddler in 'trips' has a report.

Diablo n esp Ross are windy afternoons better during approaching hi's

Haro between Lime n SJCP is the Fraser River. Touring Co. use the back eddy along the SJI cliff for return to SJCP/Smallpox Bay. Water there is variable on the fronts and tide vs the Fraser's

There is an underwater ledge/obstruction north the Kiln at the cliff. During low low tide with tide coming in...the area is a solid 2+ for 150 yards.

Second step there is north around Kettleman, back past Roche to SJCP. Intermediate trip.

All the water is cold. A complete wetsuit is necessary.

Join a club.

My first trips to Skawacoma during a long dam release from upstream with strong Pacific winds. Whirlpools, 1+ mtn type rapids, mist in the firs weather standing waves below 'coma... SUPER !

A trip there is up the north inside then over to the south n down inside that long island to the cut back north to 'coma or not cutting but continuing west to the opening into the Columbia at the west point of 'coma. The cut is for beginners
, the opening with experience.

Log freighters are fast. With USA pilots.
Waiting aside the channel for a complete visual appraisal is necessary.

Skawacoma for a yakker with a dam release is a West Coast top 10.

What about
If you’re in, or near Seattle, you don’t have to go any further than Lake Washington. However, I doubt there is much in the way of campgrounds. Then there is Lake Samamish.

You could come down my way and try the Columbia River. There are several very good places to rent kayaks on the Columbia. Alder Creek on Hayden Island (Portland), Alder Creek also has a place at Ridgefield, Washington and there is Next Adventure at Scappose Bay near St. Helens, Oregon. I think there are still kayaks for rent at Skamokowa, Washington.

My favorite spots to launch from on the Columbia is Rainier, Oregon at the city docks, Kalama Beach at Kalama, Washington, Paradise Pt. State Park on the East Fork of the Lewis and maybe Willow Grove west of Longview will be back on the list if the park security improves with the Port of Longview taking over the park.

The Columbia can be paddled in either direction–regardless of what the tide is doing, but with proper timing, you can get a boost if you time the tides. In any case, the Columbia is flat out fabulous for paddlers. You are never over a quarter mile from a nice sandy beach and you almost always have a choice of nice surfable waves, or fairly calm water–if you know where to go and I do.

If you’re interested in a beautiful lake in this part of the state (southwest)–Riffe Lake behind Mossyrock Dam, or Mayfield Lake. For either lake, use the power company park’s boat launches. They are the best parks and they are free for day use on weekdays in the summer.


– Last Updated: May-21-16 12:16 PM EST –

I think Diablo has a small boat launch next to a developed campground that is part of either North Cascades NP or National Forest.

It is one place my husband and I want to camp and paddle. However, I don't know if dispersed camping is allowed or feasible along the lake.

Since is it a mountain lake, I would assume the water is very cold even in summer.

Cowlitz ?
is there a trip down the Cowlitz too and or around Longview ?

Yes, the Cowlitz offers a fairly interesting paddle from Toledo all the way down to the Columbia. This is an all day trip. It is just basic stuff–no real rapids, just fast moving water in some places and some pretty slow moving water.

There is a very good launch right in Toledo and I think it is still free with good safe parking. On the other end, I would be very cautious about where to park your shuttle vehicle. I would not recommend Gerhart Gardens. The best place to park a vehicle would be at Rainier, Oregon, but that would mean crossing the Columbia. That’s no big deal–usually, however, the river can get a bit rough in the afternoon. Still not a big deal for experienced paddlers in good boats.

For a shortened trip, you could park a shuttle at Castle Rock near the boat launch. Another safe parking spot would be at Riverside Park in Lexington, but it could be a hassle carrying your boat up over the dike.