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River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

San Diego...
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River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

We'll be in Portland the 1st weekend of August for a wedding. Afterwards, we'd like to go river tubing and camping. Here's the parameters of my search:

Within a couple hours drive from Portland (my brother thinks if we go east the water will be warmer -- is that true?)

Nice, slow moving current (no rapids)

Approx 2 hour float time

Nearby campground (RV & tent camping -- hookups not needed)

No rowdy crowds

We'll have the RV & a rental car so the transportation between put in / take out points is taken care of. I plan on buying the tubes & stuff at Popina's.

If anyone can help me out with this I would be so grateful!

Thank you!!

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

hmm... the only tubing around here would be on the lower Clackamas River- although it has a reputation of being 'rowdy' as with most tubing spots that I am aware of. There is plenty of camping along the Clackamas. the water here is cold-from glacier streams so even in the summer it can be near freezing and most rivers that I would want to float have rapids. Some braver people float the Wilamette up near Eugene, but I wouldn't float these rivers on a inner tube- kayak or raft yes- just an inner tube-with no other floation devices- no thanks. I guess I'm a negative nelly on this one...

It may be warmer east of the cascades, but those can be cold as well.

I would check out more swimming holes, like at Opal Creek, along the Clackamas or Washougal Rivers.

Edited: 10:15 pm, July 08, 2011
Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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2. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

I saw some teens with inner tubes and inflatable rafts in a fairly slow moving curve in the Willamette along Skinner Butte Park today (just off the south river bike trail). I didn't hang around to see if they got more adventurous. I hope not, since only one had a life vest...and we average about a half-dozen drownings each summer on the local Willamette and McKenzie Rivers.

With the heavy snowpack this year, the rivers are running full and fast, with lots of hidden branches and snags just under the surface. And, as Chinookgirrl noted, the water is cold enough to stop even the strongest swimmers.

There are stretches of the lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Rivers that look placid on their surfaces, but I can't remember ever seeing anyone tubing on them. And they'd be more than 2 hours south of Portland. I don't know if the Willamette going through Salem is any better.

Slow, warm and safe aren't words used too often about most Oregon rivers.

Hillsboro, Oregon
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3. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

I think people tube in the Sandy River. Not sure where they put in, but they take out at Oxbow Park. Wear lifejackets! Every year there are drownings, and better safe than sorry.

Another option is the Salmon River, up around Welches and Rhododenron. You could camp at Mt Hood Resort RV park.

Oregon/Washington
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for Portland, Sunriver
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4. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

You could head east of Salem to the little north fork of the Santiam River. We have taken inner tubes there since I was a kid.

San Diego...
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5. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

you guys are GREAT! thanks for the suggestions - this gives me a way better idea of what i'm geting into (or not!).

Thanks!!

Battle Ground...
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6. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

Tubing is popular on the East Lewis River, in Clark County, WA (about 45 minutes north of Portland). http://www.lewisriver.com/eastfork/ lists all the parks along the lower river. The water has usually "warmed up" by August but it's a strange year...and my husband thinks it's always cold. But it feels great if the weather is hot!

I found this description of one possible float - mapmytri.com/s/…19581272 ...supposedly takes 2-3 hours but I've heard of people taking longer than that so schedule plenty of time, wear shoes and sunscreen, bring water, etc. People also float from Heisson Bridge to Lewisville Park but I'm not sure of the distance or time. For either routes, if water is running low, there are places you have to walk to get past shallow water. With the run-off still high, it might be a good year for floating?

Lewisville Park is fun for shorter, multiple tubing runs (float linked above starts from Lewisville).

Camping is available at Battle Ground Lake State Park or Paradise Point State Park. http://www.parks.wa.gov

San Diego...
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7. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

BG,

You are a WEALTH of information! Thank you!!!

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

We were at Opal Creek (it is amazing!) in early October... But cold.

min

Edited: 5:12 pm, July 14, 2011
Michigan
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9. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

If really like tubing, I love Texas for that. Tubing is in limestone fossil lined river beds, best USA has to offer. I grew up in the area, nothing compares in all my travels. West too cold and rough, east too muddy and murky, Texas is just right.

When my kids become stronger swimmers, am taking them to Texas in few years for tubing trip, plus Schlitterbahn water park.

http://www.texasoutside.com/tubing.html

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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10. Re: River Tubing w/in a couple hours drive of Portland?

JasmineSurfGirl, the OP is asking about tubing in Portland, Oregon.

Not Texas.