Weather on the pacific coast

What is the best time of year to paddle the pacific coast? During this time how many days would you consider to be safe paddling days? Obviously safe is subjective to skill level but I not trying to get an exact calculation. Assume the paddler has moderate experience, has ample rescue equipment, and is well versed in using it. thanks for your input.


what part of Pacific coast?
Weather varies by area.

the entire
pacific coast, though if you want specifics, then the washinton and oregon sections.

For NorCal…
…best season is fall. Specifically September and October. Winter and Spring brings rain. Late spring and early summer has heavier winds. Summer brings thick fog (which makes it quite cold).

Further north, I suspect it is still fall as the best season, but they do have greater chances of rain year round than in NorCal.

Ditto - Depends on the area

– Last Updated: Aug-25-08 11:23 AM EST –

Paddling conditions and the skill set needed for those conditions vary so widely between California, Oregon, and Washington. It all depends whether you are going to paddle the "open" ocean or protected waters. For Washington, ocean swell is "generally" less during July and August, and sometimes through mid-Sept so there is good intermediate access to most areas. But it can all change very quickly.

Maybe provide your planned paddle areas so local experience can comment.

update: I just saw the other thread that describes what you are hoping to do. In my opinion you are too late in the year to attempt the Washington and Oregon sections of the coast unless you plan to do the trip in sections, particularly given the skill level you describe. I would suggest that you plan a July/August timeframe for anything in the Wash/Ore area and use this winter to develop your surf launch/exit techniques.

can be nice in Sept. but then again…

Washington State
If you have wildlife areas that have migrating birds, sometime in September may be nice to paddle those areas. We have the Nisqually Delta, Padilla Bay and Willapa Bay for that kind of paddling. Then there is the Foster Island area by the University of WA that has lots of fowl.

I do a lot of paddling on the Puget Sound, never done the Pacific Ocean. I have a sit on top.


Pacific Coast Paddling

The waters from Vancouver Island and the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Santa Barbara are never an easy paddle no matter what time of year you pick. It is a serious paddle for experienced parties only. Late August and early September are probably the best time frame for most of the coast because the fog is less thick and the weather is as stable as it is going to get. The problem with large sections of Northern California and Oregon is a complete lack of pull outs in bad weather which can develop quickly anywhere on this region. The Columbia River Bar is one of the worst water areas anywhere with serious problems when storms strike. A combination of shallow waters, high winds, river current and tides have ended many a boaters trip and life. The northern Washington Coast has reefs, rocks and major tidal flows. Again, landings are not very good.

Suggest you be very careful and make sure the weather is stable. No iffy departures on the Pacific Coast. For long trips a party of four kayaks would be a good idea.

I agree, August and September into early
October is by far the best. But even then, conditions change and it’s important to watch the weather forecast before launching.

Well, the weather in Southern Oregon
is great this time of year. Hot days and cool nights and no rain. The weather changes in October/November when the rainy season starts with the accompanying storms.

NW coast
I live near this coast, and I am a moderately capable kayaker, fit, well-equiped, and gung ho. My brief forays into the open NW Pacific (on fairly calm summer days) have convinced me that I am not ready for a big trip in these waters.

Takeouts that are possible even in favorable conditions are few and far between. The water is killer cold even in the summer. Summer out here is only July-Sept. In other months, fog and storms are frequent.

For surf, this ocean is a lot more powerful than the one you are familiar with. For temperature, in the Atlantic, the current brings up warm water from the south. Here, it brings down Alaska water. Our climate is cooler in the summer.