Clackamas River Rafting



  • Introduction
  • Book a Trip
  • Rates & Dates
  • Trip Planner
  • Maps
  • Trip Photos
  • Guest Reviews

Clackamas River rafting adventures are our most popular Oregon whitewater day trip. Our half and full day Clackamas excursions (on the Three Lynx section of the upper river) are some of our best rafting adventures, and are suitable for first-timers and experienced river runners alike.

Portland residents and visitors familiar with the placid lower Clackamas may be unaware that a short distance upstream await some of the region's best rapids. Powerhouse, The Narrows, Headwall, Slingshot, and Carter Bridge are a few of the many lively class III rapids we encounter*, as is Bob's Hole, site of a well-known kayak competition held each May. (* - Some may be class IV rapids during sprintime high water.)

Rapids are perhaps the primary attraction, but lush mountain scenery, solitude, and crystal clear water add to the trip's charm. Plus all of this is practically in Portland's back yard - roughly an hour from downtown, and about 30 minutes from the east side of town. This is one of our best and most accessible adventures. 

Spring is the best time to join us if you are looking for maximum excitement. Early-season high-water rapids are powerful and promise a wet ride. With the arrival of summer the water level drops, and the trip's character changes. Summer's rapids are less intense, but offer a delightful combination of fun waves and rocky slalom-course drops. Plus summer's slower pace leaves us more time to bask in the sun between rapids. 


Why choose the Clackamas River?

  • Closest whitewater trip to Portland.
  • Family friendly, class III summer rapids.
  • Beautiful scenery and clean, clear water.


Why choose O.R.E.?

  • We run Clackamas River trips seven days a week, all summer.
  • Our staff takes high quality digital pictures of you as you enjoy rafting the river. Photos are then posted online for free viewing, or for purchase if you choose. (Digital files file and prints are available, as are additional printed items including cups and T-shirts.)
  • We're a Portland-based, locally owned company with over 30 years of river running experience.
  • Our trips are competitively priced, and we offer discounts for groups.
  • Our web site provides a secure, convenient online booking experience.

 

O.R.E. operates under a special use permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service for the Mount Hood National Forest. O.R.E. is an equal opportunity service provider.     (Non-discrimination statement.)


You can reserve your place on a 2014 O.R.E. Clackamas River trip online or by phone  

 

It's easy, fast and secure to sign up online: just click the Book a Trip button below to get started. Or call us at 503-563-1500 or 800-827-1358 during office hours* if you'd like to sign up over the phone instead. (*9 AM to 5 PM Monday - Friday during the rafting season, and 10 AM - 4 PM Monday - Thursday off-season.)

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card and American Express credit (and debit) cards online and over the phone. If you'd like to pay by check instead then please call us or submit a Reservation Request (see below) so that we can hold your trip for you while you put a check in the mail.

Please review our Deposit Schedule and our Terms of Sale before you book your trip. You'll want to become familiar with our payment, cancellation, and refund policies before you proceed. And please note that you will be required to sign a Participant Agreement. You may want to review a copy of this Agreement before reserving your river trip.  

 

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Not quite ready to book a trip but don't want to risk losing your chance to sign up?


Use our online Trip Request form to ask that we hold one or more spots for you. We will respond (usually within 24 hours) to your inquiry to confirm availability of the requested trip and to provide further details. Or if you prefer you can call us to ask that we hold one or more spots for you.

Advance payment is required in order to convert a hold to a confirmed reservation. Most holds expire 24 hours after we have responded to your hold request.


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Trip Length
Whitewater Rating
Availability
Price per person
Adult ||| Youth ||| Group
Monday - Thursday
 
Half Day
IV (Spring)
III (Summer)
Available by request for groups of ten or more
$50 |||||| $47 |||||| $45
Full Day
IV (Spring)
III (Summer)
Available by request for groups of ten or more
$80 |||||| $74 |||||| $73
Friday - Sunday
 
Half Day
IV (Spring)
III (Summer)
Available every Fri - Sun. (No min.group size)
$50 |||||| $47 |||||| $45
Full Day
IV (Spring)
III (Summer)
Available every Fri - Sun. (No min. group size)
$80 |||||| $74 |||||| $73


Notes -

  • Clackamas River whitewater is generally rated class IV during springtime high water, and class III at other times.
  • The recommended minimum age for our summer Clackamas trips is 7. Some spring trips may have higher recommended minimums: contact our office for details.
  • Youth prices are available to participants age 15 and under when accompanied by an adult.
  • Group rates apply to parties of 12 or more. Additional discounts may apply may be available for large groups - please call for details.
  • Group Transportation Packages: O.R.E. offers round-trip transportation from the Portland region for groups joining us on the Clackamas River. Please contact our office for prices and additional information.
  • Prices include all taxes and fees. More about our prices.
  • Please review our Deposit Schedule and our Terms of Sale to familiarize yourself with our deposit, cancellation, and refund policies.

Trip Itinerary

Half Day trips: Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM*, and most afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM*. In either case we meet just east of Estacada, Oregon. (On occasion our afternoon half day trips join a 1 day trip already in progress. If this will be the case we may set an earlier meeting time for the afternoon half day. This will be arranged at the time you book your trip.)

One Day trips: We meet at 9:30 AM* on the day of your trip just east of Estacada, Oregon

Look for a vehicle sporting the O.R.E. logo. After a brief orientation you will park your car then board an O.R.E. van for the 15 minute ride to the launch point.

Once we arrive at our launch site, our lead guide will conduct a safety orientation. We'll then all board rafts and be on our way downstream.

Day trips include a stop for a riverside lunch between noon and 1 PM. Both half and 1 day trips also typically opportunities to swim and jump into the river from the jumping rocks at Big Eddy.

We typically arrive at our take-out point around 12:30 PM (1/2 day morning trips),  around 4 PM (1/2 day afternoon trips and full day trips).**  The guides will load the boats onto our trailer and we'll then all board the van for the 15 minute ride back to your car. In some cases your car will be parked adjacent to where you step off the boat, and no van ride will be needed.)

* Please plan your drive carefully so as to arrive at our meeting place on time. Our guides will attempt to wait for you if you are running late, but circumstances typically do not allow them to wait more than 20 minutes. If you miss your intended trip we will most likely not be able to provide a transfer to an alternate trip, and we are unable to provide a refund for missed trips.

 ** Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.

 

Our high water half day and 1 day Clackamas trips both begin at Sandstone Bridge. High flow 1 day trips take out at Memaloose, while high flow half day trips take out at one of several upstream access points (such as Carter Bridge). Low flow half day and 1 day Clackamas trips will begin and end at alternate access points in order to create an enjoyable trip of appropriate length. (For those of you familiar with the river: Typical launch points for our low water trips include whitewater bridge and milepost 41. Typical take out points include milepost 41, Fish Creek, and mileposts 37 and 35.)

 

Trip Highlights

Portland residents familiar with the placid lower Clackamas may be unaware that a short distance upstream an exciting series of class III and IV rapids awaits. For many the best thing about boating the upper Clackamas may be that it is so close to Portland. But the river offers much more. The scenery is outstanding, and the rapids are thrilling. Powerhouse, Roaring River, Headwall, and Carter Bridge are a few of the many exciting rapids encountered, as well as Bob's Hole, site of a well-known kayak competition held each May.

 

What's included
  • The services of our professional guides and staff.

  • Transportation to and from our meeting place. 

  • A hearty lunch at riverside on full day trips. Lunch is freshly prepared by our guides from the highest quality ingredients. Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice.

  • Digital photographs are taken of your raft in two to four rapids during your trip.

  • Durable, professional quality rafts and river running equipment, including splash jackets and U.S. Coast Guard Approved lifejackets.

  • Waterproof river bags for your personal gear.
Where and when to meet
Half Day trips: Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM, and most afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM. In either case we meet just east of Estacada, Oregon. (See below for directions.) Please have your breakfast - or lunch, in the case of afternoon trips - before we meet. (On occasion our afternoon 1/2 day trips join a 1 day trip already in progress. If this will be the case we may set an earlier meeting time for the afternoon half day. This will be arranged at the time you book your trip.)

One Day trips: We meet at 9:30 AM on the day of your trip just east of Estacada, Oregon. (Please have your breakfast before we meet.)

Morning half day trips typically end by approximately 12:30 PM. Afternoon half day trips and full day trips typically end by approximately 4 PM. (Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.)
Getting to and from the river
From Portland, Washington, or the Willamette Valley: Take Highway 205 to exit 12 (which is the exit for both highways 212 and 224). Head east to the 212-224 junction, then turn right to continue to follow OR-224. Follow OR-224 through the town of Estacada and then up and over a long hill. We meet at Promontory Park, which is seven miles beyond Estacada, on your right. At Promontory Park turn off the highway, take an immediate left, then take an immediate right into the parking area for Small Fry Lake. Look for the O.R.E. van.

Promontory Park is approximately 45 minutes from Portland's east side, and one hour from downtown. Alternative route from the south: Take highway 5 to the highway 213 exit (Woodburn), then follow 213 to Molalla. From Molalla follow highway 211 to Estacada. Turn right onto highway 224 on the outskirts of Estacada, then follow 224 for seven miles to Promontory Park, on your right. At Promontory Park turn off the highway, take an immediate left, then take an immediate right into the parking area for Small Fry Lake.

From Mount Hood: Follow highway 26 west to the town of Sandy. Turn left onto highway 211, follow 211 for 6 miles to highway 224, then turn left onto 224. Follow 224 through the town of Estacada and then up and over a long hill. We meet at Promontory Park, which is approximately seven miles beyond Estacada, on your right. At Promontory Park turn off the highway, take an immediate left, then take an immediate right into the parking area for Small Fry Lake.  

To use a web-based mapping system, handheld GPS, phone GPS, or car navigation system to find our meeting place please enter the following address: 40500 E Highway 224, Estacada, OR 97023. But be sure to turn left as you enter Promontory Park (see directions above) not right (as your navigation  system will direct you to do).  

A Note for Groups: O.R.E. offers round-trip transportation from the Portland region and from Mount Hood resorts to groups by special arrangement. Please contact our office for more information. 

 

Pre and post trip shuttles
Shuttle specifics may vary by day and by group size. In most cases you will park your car at our meeting place, and O.R.E. will transport you to the launch point in a company van.
What to bring
When you sign up for your river adventure we will send you a complete list of what to bring. This list is also available online. In general you'll need to simply bring only your own clothing. 
Weather

Today's weather -

  WXPort

Weather for the Clackamas River

Weather statistics -
  April May June July Aug Sept
Average daytime high temperature 58 64 71 77 78 73
Average nighttime low temperature 37 42 47 50 50 46
Average monthly rainfall 5.3" 3.9" 2.7" 0.9" 1.3" 3.0"

 

River flow
Today's Clackamas River water level    (opens in new window)

Average flow chart     (opens in new window)
Natural history
The Clackamas is located just south of the Columbia River Gorge. It rises in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area and joins the Willamette River at Oregon City.

Anadromous and resident fish inhabit the river and its tributaries. Spring Chinook salmon, Coho salmon and steelhead trout use these waters for spawning, rearing, and migration. The Coho salmon run is the last significant wild late-run Coho stock remaining in the Columbia Basin. Resident fish include cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish.

Riparian and upland habitats within the river corridor support diverse communities of birds, mammals and amphibians. Riparian area stands of old-growth Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western red cedar provide valuable and increasingly rare habitat for many species, including the northern spotted owl. Other key wildlife species that inhabit the area include Rocky Mountain elk, pileated woodpecker, pine marten, osprey, bald eagle, otter and beaver.

The canyon is composed primarily of ancient lava flows. Over 15 million years old, these lava flows are from the same source as the basalt outcroppings seen throughout the Columbia Gorge.
Fishing
Fishing on the Clackamas is generally good during summer months for trout. If you would like to fish you’ll need an Oregon fishing license, which may be purchased at Oregon sporting goods stores or online at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site.
Pre and post trip lodging and camping
If you're from out of town you can stay anywhere in the Portland area and still be reasonably close to the river. However, the following hotels are located on Portland's east side and are thus especially close and convenient:  The Courtyard by Marriott (503-652-2900), and The Rivershore Hotel (503-443-7777).

Even closer to the river, the modest but economical Red Fox Motel (503-630-4243) is located in the town of Estacada, less than 15 minutes from our meeting place.

Other Portland area options include The Residence Inn (503-684-2603), The Fairfield Inn (503-670-7557), and the Crown Plaza (503-624-8400).

If you plan to combine your raft trip with an exploration of Mt. Hood, consider staying in Welches at The Resort At The Mountain (800-733-0800).

Numerous campgrounds are found along the Clackamas River. We recommend Lazy Bend, Fish Creek, and Indian Henry in particular. For reservations call 877-444-6777.
Nearby attractions
Options abound for combining your raft trip with other activities. Consider a visit to the waterfalls and hiking trails of Columbia River Gorge, the alpine scenery of Mount Hood, or the culture and cuisine of the Portland metropolitan area. All are within an hour's drive or so of the river.

While at the river you may also want to consider a hike on the Clackamas River Trail, or a visit to Bagby Hot Springs just upstream.
Gratuities
Guests sometimes ask whether it is appropriate to tip their guide. Tipping is optional, but if your guide did a great job then feel free to thank him or her with a gratuity. The amount is up to you, but tips between 8% and 20% of trip cost are customary.

 

River Map:
Click map to view
 
Clackamas River map - Oregon River Experiences
Road Map & Directions:
Click map to view
Clackamas Road.gif (95385 bytes)
Interactive Map:
Click map to view

Click here to see pictures of your trip

Click thumbnails below to view larger versions of these images of past trips

Family summer fun

Springtime whitewater

Clackamas River at Roaring River rapids Clackamas River at Roaring River rapids
       
       
       

 

I wanted to tell you that my wife and mother-in-law had an absolutely great time on the river on Saturday morning.  It's really nice to know that even on the 1/2 day "novice" trips, the people are well cared for and I appreciate the service that your company provided.     Todd Thistle

We had the time of our lives and I believe every one of us would consider the river experience a high point of our visit. Our guide was fantastic. He had a great sense of humor, answered all our questions, and safely got us through the whole ride. Thanks very much for an experience we'll never forget!      Mike Messer

We loved how friendly everyone was and the great condition of the equipment, and the scenery was amazing!     Andrea Smith

Our group of 18 on the morning trip on the Clackamas River had a great time! Everyone couldn't quit talking about what fun they had and the guides were excellent and made the trip safe, fun, and definitely memorable.      Roy Prichard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trips available by request are trips we create in response to the needs of our guests. Minimum group size restrictions apply.

I      Calm water, small waves.
II    Medium waves, clear channels.
III   Big waves, maneuvering required. Exciting!
IV    Steep, demanding rapids. Very exciting!!
V     Extreme whitewater. Thrilling but dangerous.
VI    Not raftable.

Youth prices available to participants age 15 and under when accompanied by an adult.

Clackamas River - Closest whitewater to Portland. Exciting whitewater in the spring (our most thrilling spring day-trip), and a great family trip in the summer. Good hiking and camping nearby. Beautiful forest scenery: classic Oregon. Near Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.
Prices include all taxes and fees.
 
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