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10 Paddles In Oregon For The Adventurous Soul

From sea level at the coast to high alpine lakes, Oregon is home to some spectacular waterways. It’s easy to escape the convenience of the major cities and find yourself surrounded by natural beauty. Pack up your paddle board, here are ten places you won’t want to miss in the Beaver State:

Scappoose Bay

There is no shortage of exploration potential at this incredible location. Numerous creeks and estuaries feed into the bay, providing a seemingly endless maze of places to discover. Pick your route wisely to avoid downed trees that make travel challenging, as many of the waterways can be narrow and must be navigated with caution. The Bay can be enjoyed year round, but locals recommend early spring as the best time of year–runoff from the surrounding snowpack melt inundates the Bay, causing the water level to rise and permitting paddlers the unique chance to paddle amongst alders and other trees that are temporarily flooded with spring melt. Well worth the 30 minute drive from Portland, this is a must-visit destination if you’re in the area.

Hagg Lake

Located 35 miles west of Portland, this man-made lake is fed by multiple rivers and creeks and offers an excellent paddling opportunity as well as surrounding amenities. There are picnic locations dotted around the lake’s shore and boat ramps for easy access to the water. Since the lake is stocked with trout, it becomes a popular fishing destination when it opens for the season in early March. Waterfowl and birds of prey are common sights and can make for some impressive entertainment as you paddle the serene waters of this area.

Gilbert River

This 4.5 mile waterway is easily accessible by a Wildlife Management Area (though it charges a $7 fee for parking) and is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts of all types. Paddlers and boaters aren’t the only ones who flock to this area–a large population of wildlife such as bald eagles, blue herons, river otters, beavers, walleye, bass, and sturgeon are known to inhabit the area as well. Make sure to check the tide charts before visiting the river as water levels can change seasonally.

Tualatin River

If you are interested in an extended trip that will provide exciting changes in scenery, the Tualatin is an outstanding option. Because the size of the river varies, larger craft are not able to navigate the waters which makes for a peaceful cruise. Starting in the Coast Range and flowing almost 80 miles east to its confluence with the Willamette, the river passes through several towns along the way. Plan a stop in Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, or West Linn for a snack as you enjoy fishing and bird watching along the way.

Estacada Lake (River Mill Reservoir)

Nestled pristinely at the base of the Cascade Range sits Estacada Lake. This lake is a favorite destination for Portland residents who want to experience a more peaceful environment without a long drive. The nearby Milo McIver State Park is a popular camping destination, so you can spend all day exploring the area and spend all night recharging for a repeat the next day. The lake is stocked with trout and is open from the middle of March through October. In autumn, the hillsides are awash with the colors of fall, making for a truly spectacular experience.

Willamette River Water Trail

Most people are familiar with the Willamette River as one of the major waterways in the state. Flowing almost 190 miles north from Eugene to Portland, and passing through the cities of Corvallis and Salem along the way, history is steeped in the waters of this river that has shaped the past, present, and future of Oregon. Once a major travel route for steamships and riverboats, the river is now a favorite destination for adventure seekers of all types. Plan a short day trip or make preparations for a longer multi-day journey. No matter how long you spend, a trip down the Willamette is sure to be unforgettable.

Clear Lake

Like its name implies, this spring-fed lake is crystal clear and thus is teeming with wildlife. No motorboats are permitted which contributes to the peacefulness of the area. Geologic features such as lava flows line the eastern shore of the lake, and it is possible to see remnants of the sunken forest that once covered the region. There are campsites dotted around the shore, as well as cabins for rent at the Clear Lake Resort, but make sure you reserve early as this popular destination is a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts. There’s also a restaurant at the Resort so you can grab a bite when you’ve worked up an appetite. If you want to stretch your legs and take a break from being on the water, take a stroll around hiking trails that encircle the lake’s edge.

Hosmer Lake

Whether you’re an experienced paddler or just taking your first strokes, Hosmer Lake is an excellent place to experience the best of Oregon. Located on the eastern side of the Cascades and a short drive from Bend and Sunriver, Hosmer is a long, narrow lake that is off-limits to powerboats so you can enjoy calm waters in peace. Along the way, you will be astounded by views of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and South Sister off in the distance, while in closer proximity you will spot numerous species of ducks, river otters, geese, and other songbirds. Fishing is permitted but is restricted to fly fishing. After a long day, be sure to check out some of the surrounding campgrounds in the area where you can rest and recharge and do it all over again the next day.

Waldo Lake

This is a not-to-be-missed destination if you are adventuring in Oregon. Situated at over 5,400 feet elevation, Waldo Lake is 10 square miles of liquid incredible. The shoreline is crenulated with numerous coves and inlets, and multiple islands dot the inside of the lake, providing a seemingly endless array of places to explore. The water is crystal clear and on a calm day it’s not impossible to see down over 100 feet to the lake bottom. The indigo waters provide the perfect mirror off of which reflect majestic views of the North and South Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Bachelor, Diamond Peak, and Mt. Yoran. Plan ahead for camping at some of the surrounding campgrounds, and bring your hiking shoes or even your mountain bike as there are trails around the lake perimeter when you’re ready to change it up. The weather can change rather rapidly here to make sure to be prepared for all conditions–you won’t want to miss a moment on Waldo Lake!

Trillium Lake

If you’re a beginner to the sport of paddle boarding, Trillium Lake is an outstanding place to hone your skills. No motorboats are allowed which preserves the gentle peace of the water so you can focus on your technique. The 65-acre lake is fairly shallow and affords incredible views of Mt. Hood which towers regally in the distance. There is a day-use area as well as primitive camping around the water’s edge, so make sure to plan ahead if you want to make a multi-day adventure.

From pristine high mountain lakes to calm meandering rivers, Oregon has some of the most exciting paddling opportunities available. Whether you are making a quick day trip from Portland or planning an overnight adventure, you won’t want to miss these incredible places. Bring your camera, we’d love to see where your paddle board takes you!

denver sky view paddle board

10 Pristine Paddle Board Destinations Hidden Around Denver Colorado

Colorado is home to some of the premiere waterways in the United States. Surrounded by enormous pines, mountains as far as the eye can see, and house-sized boulders, there is no shortage of adventure in the Centennial State. Plus, with a city like Denver so close by, excitement begins just outside your doorstep. So, in no particular order, here are ten top-rated paddles that anyone can enjoy!

Horsetooth Reservoir

At approximately one hour from Denver, this location is a bit of a drive, but trust us–it’s well worth the trip. Once you arrive, you will be greeted by sweeping views of over six square miles of liquid awesome. There’s lots to explore, and getting there is simple; boat launches around the reservoir make for easy access on and off the water.

Boulder Reservoir

Just adjacent to the smaller Sixmile Reservoir, this spot sits at a cool 5,177’ ASL. Start your adventure here by launching at one of two beaches on the south side of the lake near the Community Sailing of Colorado. From there, explore the peninsula to the west or the inlet to the north; whichever direction you go, you’re certain to find some hidden treasures. Since motorized craft are allowed on the lake, stick close to shore if you’re forced to share the water with other boaters.

Chatfield Lake

So good it was worth making bigger, this 1,423 acre reservoir was recently expanded to allow for greater volume. Not only did this increase the area available to paddlers, it also allowed more space for our furry friends–the area is frequented by over 300 bird species and home to numerous mammals. You can also check out the Audubon Center which offers natural education programs to enthusiasts of all ages to dive deeper into an informative paddle boarding experience.

Evergreen Lake

Though it sits next to the Evergreen Golf Course, this lake still boasts breathtaking views in every direction. Park your vehicle at the east end of the reservoir and climb a short set of stairs before being greeted with views of Evergreen and the surrounding area. Explore the perimeter and check out some of the impressive architectural accomplishments that dot the water’s edge. This lake is also open to motorized and non-motorized vessels.

Lake Pueblo State Park

When you’re looking for a real getaway away from the hustle and bustle, travel south to Pueblo Lake for a true change of scenery. It’s easy to get on the water from one of the two local marinas, and when you’re exhausted from a long day of paddling, there are plenty of nearby campgrounds to call home. Also, don’t forget your rod and license as this lake offers some outstanding fishing opportunities.

Standley Lake

Fresh air and pure water – these two essential ingredients for life are in abundance at Standley Lake. Grab your paddle board and come back to life at this rejeuvenating spot. With the 96’ foot deep lake composing approximately one third of the surrounding Standley Lake Regional Park, there is no shortage of places to discover both on and off the water. The area also has a boat ramp and a restroom facility for easy access.

South Platte River

On a sunny day, expect to see a multitude of people recreating in this popular Denver locale. Enjoyed by kayakers, sunbathers, and photographers alike, this river provides a wonderful natural resource minutes from the heart of downtown Denver. Plus, getting to the river has gotten significantly easier: it was originally called Niinéniiniicíihéhe by the native Arapaho people, so typing South Platte into your GPS will save you tons of valuable time on the water.

Bear Creek Lake

If you love the feeling of sand between your toes and sun on your face, make sure to drop in at the Big Soda Lake beach at this regional park area. There is a dedicated swimming area as well as plenty of water beyond to explore on your board. And, with the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre within eye- and earshot, you might be able to catch some jams to rock out to while paddling the cool waters.

Clear Lake

This area may be 40 miles from the City, but the drive is enjoyable as it takes you over the scenic Guanella Pass road. Access the lake and find yourself surrounded by high country pine forests and lush rolling hills. There is no development around the lake so if you’re seeking solitude, Clear Lake is well worth the ride.

Shadow Mountain Lake

Intricate coves. Mysterious Islands. Towering mountains. If these things interest you, take a trip up to the Granby area to enjoy this lake. Bordering Rocky Mountain National Park, there are some magnificent movie-worthy vistas as well as a few islands to circumnavigate. As a bonus, and since paddle boards are so nimble, you can travel east along a small channel and find yourself on the adjoining Grand Lake.

Pack it up and get paddling!

Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway or planning an overnight expedition, Colorado offers a multitude of incredible paddling opportunities. Pack light or bring the kitchen sink, there’s a paddle boarding spot for everyone and you don’t always have to travel far to get it! Have fun and always remember to stay safe while on the water.

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