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Sandy River, Dodge to Oxbow

a close up of a rock next to a body of water

The float from Dodge to Oxbow is a great class II+ run for beginner paddlers looking to progress to more difficult water.

This scenic 6.25 mile float begins with the Class III “Pipeline” Rapid then eases into numerous pool drops. Class II rapids intertwine with sweeping vistas and abundant wildlife. This is the starting point for Oregon’s State Scenic Waterway and the federal Wild and Scenic river


Estimated paddle time: 4 hours

Don’t be fooled by the calm looking water at the Dodge Park launch point. There is some great whitewater on this run. Boulder gardens and wave trains pass through miles of wilderness. If you can make it through Pipeline rapids 1/4 of a mile downstream from Dodge park, you’ll do just fine.

At normal levels, each rapid empties out into a pool below, so if you end up swimming a rapid, you have a chance to recover before the next rapid appears.

Despite being very close to Portland, OR, this section of the Sandy river looks as it must have appeared 100 years ago. Wilderness is a rare and wonderful thing. In the early morning you will find wildlife in abundance on the river.

For a more complete picture of what Sandy to Oxbow looks like, check out this video by the Lower Columbia Canoe Club:

Unlike most other take-out spots in the area, Oxbow Regional Park has is no bridge marking the takeout spot. Watch for a paved boat ramp on the left hand side of the river as the water begins to mellow out. It is a popular picnic spot for families, so you’ll often see people standing around the water near the ramp.

We recommend using the Aire Tomcat kayaks for this run. It handles the big waves beautifully, and is maneuverable enough to weave through the boulder gardens on the more technical sections of river.

Check out this interactive map for directions to the put-in and takeout spots.

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