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Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Almost two centuries after the Lewis and Clark expedition, it is still easy to imagine you are on your own “corps of discovery,” traveling by canoe or kayak, even in the midst of the industrial landscape.

The narrow, tree-lined Upper Slough evokes an air of mystery as you glide silently beneath a mixed alder, cottonwood, red-osier dogwood and willow canopy. The brushy banks are especially attractive to Wood Duck, Black-crowned Night Heron and the secretive Green Heron.

Paddling the Slough

While it is easily navigable by canoe, culverts and other barriers must be negotiated if you plan to paddle the entire Upper Slough. East of the 142rd Avenue levee, canoeing is best on the south “arm” of the Slough. Downstream the preferred route is along the north “arm.” Two floating docks off Airport Way provide the easiest access to the Upper Slough.

The Lower Slough is a wider, obstacle-free waterway with expansive vistas and open water, lined with black cottonwoods and ash - ideal perching and nesting habitat for Osprey, Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron and welcome shade on a hot summer paddle. Daily tides mean a will timed trip allows for paddling with the current; the alternative is a muddy take-out and paddling against a stiff current at ebb tide. Kelley Point Park, St. Johns Landfill and Smith and Bybee Lakes Wildlife Area provide easily accessible launch sites. A new launch is planned near Northeast Denver Avenue.

Resource Description
Paddler's Access Guide
Paddle guide; includes launch location information. Note: some launch sites have had access restricted in recent years (11198 NE Simpson St. and more).
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(Invasive Species Prevention Program) Permits required for all boats over 10 ft
NOAA Tide Predictions Website
NOAA Tide Predictions
Paddlers Safety Checklist
Paddlers Safety Checklist (American Canoe Association)
Alder Creek
Kayak/Canoe/Gear/SUP Rental and Sales Vendor. Skill building classes offered.
Next Adventure Paddle Sports
Kayak/Canoe/Gear/SUP Rental and Sales Vendor. Skill building classes offered.
Portland Kayak Company
Kayak Rental and Sales Vendor