Paddling The Tualatin River
While the Tualatin River stretches almost 80 miles from the coast range to the Willamette River, only the lower 40 miles of the river is accessible to paddlers. With a barely detectable current in the summer, the Tualatin River Water Trail is the perfect place for beginning paddlers and families with children. Along the way, wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant as you paddle through farmland, suburbs and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
Much of the Tualatin River runs through private property. Currently there are no campsites on the lower Tualatin River. Please do not trespass on private property or on the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. We also ask that you pack your litter out with you. Trash cans and restrooms are located along the river at Willamette Park, Fields Bridge, Brown’s Ferry Park, Tualatin Community Park, Cook Park, Jurgens Park and Rood Bridge Park.
For camping, RV sites, lodging and information for things to see and do in the Tualatin Valley, visit tualatinvalley.org Tualatin Riverkeepers is working with local governments to increase public access to the river. The Paddler’s Access Guide to the Lower Tualatin River is produced and published by the Washington County Visitors Association, in partnership with the Tualatin Riverkeepers.
In the summer, much of the lower Tualatin is a slow, meandering river, with little or no current below River Mile 42. Plan on an average speed of 2 miles per hour with constant paddling. Paddling upstream is not usually a problem. In many stretches, it is a good place for beginners to develop their paddling skills. During the spring and winter, high flow levels, fallen trees, and submerged debris make paddling on the river hazardous, especially for those unfamiliar with the river. Each winter brings new log jams that can dramatically change the nature of the river. Whenever you paddle, remember that river travel has inherent risks associated with it. Log jams, or other debris or structures in the river can trap people and boats. Death by drowning may occur. All river users are responsible for their own safety.
Play it safe by following a few simple rules.
- Always wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.
- Don’t drink and paddle. Alcohol or drugs can impair your ability to respond to dangerous situations.
- Don’t paddle alone. Let someone know your plans.
- Bring a whistle or other signal device.
- Don’t paddle during hazardous conditions.
- Be aware of the weather and time of day.
- Wear appropriate clothing, including footwear and hats. Take extra clothing in a waterproof container.
- Take food and water. Paddling is hard work.
- Avoid hazards. Log jams move each winter and formerly passable stretches of the river may no longer be passable. Avoid downed trees, dams, irrigation pumps and other hazards in the river.
- f you spot pollution or other problems, use our online trouble ticket at tualatinriverkeepers.org or email email@example.com.
WARNING: Crossing slippery logjams is dangerous, and we recommend that paddlers launch boats at designated access points and keep to the water trail on the lower 40 miles, as an abundance of logjams makes the upper river more accessible for fish and beavers than paddlers.
Before you take the long journey, we suggest that you check out the navigation reports on tualatinriverpaddling.blogspot.com
to make sure there are no impassable logjams on your intended route.
Boat Rentals on the River
During summer months, rent a canoe, kayak at Cook Park or Brown’s Ferry Park. Call or check the websites for operating hours and rental rates. Call to check the availability of Stand Up Paddleboards.
Cook Park Canoe & Kayak Rentals
Operated by Tualatin Riverkeepers
17005 SW 92nd Ave., Tigard, OR 97224
Membership in Tualatin Riverkeepers offers discounts and free rentals at Cook Park Canoe & Kayak rentals.
Points on the River
Willamette Park – West Linn (RM 0.0 LB)
1100 12th St., West Linn, OR 97068
Enter park on 12th St. and turn right on Volpp St. This site provides paddling access to the Willamette River and the first few hundred yards on the Tualatin River. Shallow
rocky rapids immediately upstream from here will prevent paddlers from going upstream on the Tualatin.
Fields Bridge (RM 1.6 LB)
821 Willamette Falls Dr.,West Linn, OR 97068
Fields Bridge Park is a beautiful 19-acre park located on the Tualatin River. Most of the year, downstream paddling is not possible because of rocks and shallow water; however, it is possible to paddle upstream for about 1.5 miles from this site to where rocks and rapids will stop your progress. The unpaved ramp is located under the bridge. The closest parking is at the park’s community gardens, however, it’s a long walk to the ramp. In the winter during high flows, whitewater paddlers may run from Fields Bridge to the Willamette River. Please exercise caution.
NO PORTAGE – Lake Oswego Corp. Diversion Dam
(RM 3.45 ).
This low dam, which raises the river level a few feet, is DANGEROUS & IMPASSABLE. STAY AWAY!
Stafford Rd. – Shipley Bridge (RM 5.4 LB)
Stafford Road & Shadow Wood Drive, West Linn, OR 97068
Take exit 3 (Stafford Rd./Lake Oswego) from I-205 and head north on SW Stafford Rd. Continue on SW Strafford Rd. through the roundabout and toward Wanker’s Corner. Cross the bridge and turn right onto Shadow Wood Dr. Access the river from Shadow Wood Dr., northeast of the bridge. The launch is unpaved and parking is limited.
Brown’s Ferry Park (RM 7.5 RB)
5855 SW Nyberg Ln., Tualatin, OR 97062
From I-5 take exit 289 (Nyberg St. Tualatin-Sherwood Rd.). Go east on SW Nyberg St. When the road turns right to SW 65th, make a left turn onto SW Nyberg Ln. Keep going east for a few blocks. Brown’s Ferry Park has a network of nature trails, parking, picnic facilities, restrooms and a very nice dock for canoes and kayaks (there is no boat ramp for motorized craft). Canoe rental is available daily in the summer. For rental information call Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe at 503.691.2405.
Tualatin Community Park (RM 8.9 RB)
8515 SW Tualatin Rd., Tualatin, OR 97062
From I-5 take exit 289 (Nyberg St. Tualatin/Sherwood Rd.) and head west onto SW Nyberg St. and stay in the left lane (road turns into SW Tualatin Sherwood Rd.). Turn right onto SW Boones Ferry Rd. (turns into SW Tualatin Rd.). Continue straight on SW Tualatin Rd. for one block. Turn right onto the park road in front of the railroad crossing. Continue toward the railroad trestle, turn right in front of the trestle, and follow it to the boat ramp. Tualatin Community Park is a large multi-purpose park with a boat ramp, parking, restrooms and picnic facilities.
17005 SW 92nd Ave., Tigard, OR 97224
Jurgens Park (RM 10.6 RB)
17255 SW Jurgens Ave., Tualatin OR 97062
Take SW Jurgens Ave. north from SW Tualatin Rd. The parking lot is a lengthy walk to the launch site where a ramp leads to a dock designed for canoes and kayaks. Trails, restrooms, ball fields, picnic and playground areas are available.
99W Bridge Canoe Launch (RM 11.5 RB)
Just West of 11675 SW Hazelbrook Road, Tualatin OR 97062
From 99W turn south onto SW 124th Ave. Turn left onto SW Tualatin Rd. Turn left onto SW 115th Ave. Turn left onto SW Hazelbrook Rd. After turning left on SW Hazelbrook Rd., go 200 yards on the gravel path to the launch site. Four parking spots are at the put-in, with additional on street parking. No restrooms or other facilities are available. Services nearby: Roamer’s Rest
RV Park (377 ft.), Nacho Mama’s (0.3 mi.)
Scholls Bridge (RM 26.9 LB)
Hwy 210 – Scholls Ferry Road, Scholls, OR
Situated on Highway 210 (SW Scholls Ferry Rd.) north of SW Scholls-Sherwood Rd., Informal access site is located on northeast end of bridge. Please stay on the highway right-of-way. There is limited parking along the road and be cautious of speeding cars. The path to the river is steep and slippery. Services nearby: Petrich General Store (0.5 mi.), Smith Berry Barn
(1.2 mi.), South Store Café (1.2 mi.)
Eagle Landing (RM 29.6 LB)
26001 SW Rainbow Ln., Hillsboro, OR 97123
Eagle Landing is a small half-acre parcel on the banks of the Tualatin River located off of SW Rainbow Ln. near Groner Elementary School. The amenities in the park include a 12-vehicle gravel parking lot and a connecting gravel pathway. There are no restrooms or running water at this location. There is a steel staircase to provide non-motorized boat access to and from the River; however, there is no dock. Carrying a large canoe or kayak down the stairway may be challenging.
Metro Farmington Natural Area (RM 33.3 LB)
River Road at Farmington Road, Hillsboro, OR 97123
River access for canoes and kayaks at this site, just upstream from the Phil Harris Bridge, will be available in early 2017. Paddlers can dine at Cruise in Country Diner (0.1 mile), which serves up a great burger.
Rood Bridge Park (End of Water Trail) (RM 38.4 LB)
4000 SE Rood Bridge Rd., Hillsboro, OR 97123
From SE Tualatin Valley Hwy. (T.V. Hwy. 8) take SE River Rd. southeast to SE Rood Bridge Rd. Follow SE Rood Bridge Rd. south for a few blocks. The park is on the east side of SE Rood Bridge Rd. just before crossing the river. When you enter the park entrance, turn right. Pass the Annex building and River House building. Continue downhill to the parking area and boat ramp. There is a 25’ gap between the end of the paved ramp and the river, leaving a steep bank to the water’s edge. Use caution, this can be slippery. Restrooms, trails, picnic and parking are available.
The Rest of the River – Upstream from RM 40
We do not recommend access to the Tualatin River at bridges upstream from river mile 40. The river is blocked by many log jams which are dangerous. Banks of the river are steep and often covered with blackberries and poison oak, making portage difficult. To portage around log jams, always ask permission before crossing private property.
RM = River Mile, RB = Right Bank, LB = Left Bank