Join us for five, sun-ripened days dreaming our way down the magnificent upper Willamette alongside friends and family. It’s here you’ll experience the river in a markedly different way, with spectacular meals, entertainment, unrestrained giggling, the legendary wine/beer selection and more memories than five mere days really deserve to make. It’s not only become a tradition of sorts but a Northwest rite-of-passage.
Read below for details on these topics:
CAMPING + BAGGAGE SHUTTLE
FOOD + DRINK
SKILL + BOAT REQUIREMENTS
CANOE + KAYAK RENTALS
PADDLING SAFETY + PODS
TRANSPORTATION, SHUTTLE + PARKING OPTIONS
August 17th - 21th, 2020
This year’s trip will wind along 85.5 miles of river, beginning at Marshall Island Access in Junction City, OR and ending at Wallace Marine Park in Salem, OR. Follow our route on the Willamette River Water Trail maps in the links below. All participants will receive water-proof and tear-proof Willamette Water Trail maps the morning we launch.
Monday, August 17th: 15 miles
Put-in at Marshall Island Access in Junction City, camp at a scenic private riverbend property
Tuesday, August 18th: 21.5 miles
Camp at the Crystal Lake Ball Fields in Corvallis
Wednesday, August 19th: 14.5 miles
Camp at Kenagy Family Farm in Albany (NEW!)
Thursday, August 20th: 16 miles
Camp at Chatoe Rogue Hop Farm in Independence
Friday, August 21st: 18.5 miles
Take-out at Wallace Marine Park in Salem*
*NOTE: Each pod will arrive at the take-out at their own pace, generally sometime between 2:30pm and 4pm
Paddle Oregon arranges all camping and amenities for participants.
All of our campsites will offer flat, grassy fields, on private property or a city park. Sleeping pads are highly recommended. Amenities at each campground include port-a-potties, hand-washing stations, trash/recycling receptacles, communal tables and chairs, and the occasional free-range chicken.
We will have a shower trailer, with private shower units, in camp when water is available (at least one night). Of course, you can always enjoy a bath in the river at any time, but in that case, please do not use any soaps or shampoos- even biodegradable soaps cause pollution and can have a detrimental impact on aquatic life.
Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, your camping baggage will be loaded onto a truck when you arrive, then shuttled and unloaded from campsite to campsite each day. Baggage that is to be shuttled needs to be well labeled, and no more than two reasonably sized duffel bags, each weighing 40 pounds or less. You should pack a separate waterproof bag to take with you on the river to hold extra clothes, jackets, sunscreen, etc. For ideas on what to pack see the Equipment Checklist.
FOOD + DRINK
On Paddle Oregon, the food is as spectacular as the river views. A catered breakfast, lunch, evening appetizers and dinner will be provided for you, starting with breakfast at the put-in on Monday and ending with lunch on Friday.
Participants will have a selection of lunch items to choose from each day after breakfast so they can pack their lunch for the river. Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet-style, with a variety of delicious items to choose from. There will be both meat, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Our exceptional caterer is happy to work with you if you have food allergies or other restrictions/preferences.
Beer and wine will be available each evening for an additional charge.
SKILL + BOAT REQUIREMENTS
You will be paddling with two experienced pod leaders who will help facilitate the safety of your group. In addition, we have roving safety paddlers, a certified medic and a first aid attendant. Nevertheless, you are responsible for your own safety at all times!
Although the Willamette River is primarily calm this time of year due to lower water levels, sections of the river have considerable current that require paddlers to have the skill to maneuver their boats in moving water and dynamic currents. These skills include familiarity and experience with basic strokes and maneuvers such as forward and reverse paddling, turning in current, navigating river bends, paddling upstream, and ferrying. Paddlers also need to have an understanding of river features such as reading the flow (where is the main current moving? where is it too shallow to pass?), eddy lines (how they work, how to move across them safely), and recognizing hazards like obstructions or strainers (such as woody debris). At times the river is braided, or is split by an island. You and your pod may need to "eddy out" from the main current, or paddle to the side, to get out and scout which channel option is most appropriate.
In addition to basic skills, we recommend practicing rescue techniques prior to the trip, and encourage that participants have recent experience paddling 10 to 20 miles per day to assure one’s stamina is adequate to enjoy your vacation! Your pod will take regular breaks as needed. The upper river has slightly more gradient, resulting in a decent current that will assist us as we paddle down river (although there is always the possibility of a headwind!).
All participants are required to meet two of the following:
- Paddling experience on moving water (strong river currents, eddies, etc.) within the last two (2) years.
- Moving water paddling instruction within the last four (4) years.
- Previous participation in Paddle Oregon.
Additional Requirements for Participants 17 and Under
- All minors need to have had wet exit and rescue training/experience or will be required to paddle with an adult.
- All minors need to know how to swim.
Most participants paddle touring-style sea kayaks and canoes (solo or tandem) that are 15-19 feet in length. Longer boats have more glide and cover distance more efficiently. We strongly recommend that your boat be at least 14 feet long to make it easier for you to paddle the long distances that some days require. You will be paddling with an assigned pod, and it's helpful when everyone has an appropriate boat. Our goal is to set you up for success on your vaction- we don't want you working too hard just to keep up!
We also recommend that you invest the time in practicing proper paddling technique, including day trips and classes that will help you learn to paddle efficiently and with less effort (which is key to paddling longer distances!). Condition yourself as needed in advance of the trip, you will thank yourself for it come August!
If you have questions about these requirements, give us a call at 503-223-6418 and ask for Kate. We will be happy to talk to you about whether or not your experience is adequate or a class is appropriate.
CANOE + KAYAK RENTALS
Need a boat? Canoes and kayaks can be rented for an additional fee through various local paddling shops. You are responsible for making these arrangements on your own.
When renting a boat, we strongly suggest that you test paddle your rental boat prior to committing to paddling it for five days. We also recommend that you invest the time in training yourself in proper paddling technique by taking classes from professionals, and that you condition yourself for full days of physical activity. If a renter claims "my boat is slow" what we hear is "I have not properly prepared for this trip," and unfortunately that can effect your river experience as well as the experience of your assigned pod.
Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe offers a special rental package and service for Paddle Oregon participants: $195 for a solo boat or $225 for a tandem canoe or kayak, plus life jackets, paddles, and transportation of the boat. An Alder Creek representative will deliver your boat to the put-in, help orient you to your gear, and will pick up your rental gear at the take-out.
Call Alder Creek for details and payment arrangements 503-285-0464.
Registered Paddle Oregon participants are also eligible for discounted classes from Alder Creek pre-trip:
- Use the promotional code: POR2-1 for a buy-one-get-one-free Basic Skills Kayak or Canoe class when you sign up two people at once.
- Use the Promotional code: POR15 for 15% off any class — Tipping Without Flipping, Canoeing River Currents (especailly suited for PO participants), or a class package such as Full Immersion Sea Kayak I & II
PADDLING SAFETY + PODS
In order to ensure safety and foster camaraderie on the river, paddlers will be grouped into “pods.” Paddlers choose pods based on paddling pace, daily departure times, and special interests. Your choice simply helps us to place you in a group. If you are interested in more than one option you are welcome to change pods during the trip. Each pod will have ten to twelve boats and a minimum of two Pod Leader volunteers.
Pod Leader volunteers are experienced paddlers, and not necessarily professionally trained guides/rescue technicians. They are present to help make decisions on the water, keep the pod together, and assist with rescues when necessary. Therefore, your safety is equally your responsibility.
Meeting the necessary skill requirements, listening to directions, and being aware of what’s ahead downstream are essential to having a safe trip.
TRANSPORTATION, SHUTTLE + PARKING OPTIONS
Here are your transportation options:
1) You are welcome to arrange for your own transportation to be dropped off at the put-in, Marshall Island Access in Junction City, on Monday morning by 8:00 am, and picked up at Wallace Marine Park on Friday afternoon between approximately 2:30pm and 4:00 pm.*
2) Alternatvely, for an additional $35, on Monday morning you can arrange for Willamette Riverkeeper's one-way-shuttle to transport you, your gear, and your boat from Wallace Marine Park in Salem, and shuttle you to the put-in in Junction City. With this service, you also have the option of parking your car at Wallace Marine Park for the week.
3) Yet antoher option would be getting dropped off at the put-in, Marshall Island Access, on Sunday evening, before the trip officially begins Monday morning, and camping for the night. There is no additional fee to do so as there would be no ammenities provided other than a pit toilet. Please note that there is no overnight parking at the put-in.
*NOTE: Each pod will arrive at the take-out at their own pace.
How our shuttle works:
- If you choose to use our shuttle service and...
You need to transport your personal kayak or canoe: you must report to Wallace Marine Park in Salem at 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning the 17th. Here your boat will be loaded and secured onto a large trailer by volunteers.
You do not need to transport a boat because you are renting: then you need only to report to Wallace Marine Park in Salem on Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. to load yourself and your paddling gear onto our charter buses.
(Coffee and breakfast will be waiting for you at the put-in, which is about hour and thirty minute drive away.)
- Parking for shuttle users...
Willamette Riverkeeper and the City of Salem can NOT guarantee the security of your vehicle for the week. You will be parked in a busy public park. Please do not plan to leave any valuables in your car. Furthermore, there is no overnight parking available at the put-in, and there is no shuttle back to the put-in at the end of the trip.
--->You will select your Shuttle preferences in your on-line registration form.
Paddle Oregon Registration: EARLY BIRD SPECIAL of $949 until May 1st, $999 after May 1st*
*NEW in 2020- You may set up a monthly payment plan to fulfill your registration fee thanks to our NEW on-line registration system!
Registration includes: delicious northwest cuisine, daily baggage shuttle, safety paddlers, camping accommodations, showers where possible, entertainment and educational opportunities, ACA insurance coverage, logistical support, daily yoga practice, event shirt and water trail maps.
When you fill out your on-line registration form, you may fulfill your payment securely online via our NEW registration system.
- Shuttle: $35/per person (includes parking option)
- Neoprene lunch bag: $8
- Massage: $20 for 15 minutes (available nightly, cash prefered)
- Beer and Wine: available nightly for an additional charge (cash or card)
- Guided Painting Class: $22 includes all materials and instruction, one night only, limited availability
Cancellations prior to June 1st will be refunded less $200. Cancellations in June will be refunded less $350. No refunds will be issued in July or August for any reason.