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Sandy River, Oxbow to Dabney and Lewis Clark

a herd of cattle walking across a bridge over a body of water

The Sandy River from Oxbow to Lewis & Clark is the perfect beginner run.

Oxbow Regional Park to Dabney State Recreation Site is a 7-mile float that goes through swift-moving Class I rapids. This is a very popular and busy section of the Sandy used by people with a variety of skill levels including anglers.

Estimated paddle time: 3.5 hours

The river calms down as it enters Oxbow Regional Park and settles to class I for the remainder of the run until it empties into the Columbia River near Lewis & Clark state park. You might see a few breaking waves occasionally depending on flow, but everything is easily negotiated.
The first stretch of the run feels more remote, as the river winds its way through Oxbow Regional Park. You will see fishermen and campers along the water, but few houses.

Be sure to look for the rocky beach where thousands of stones have been stacked. Most of the time you can see a camper out there adding to the maze of stacked stones.

For a shorter run, exit at Dabney State park right before the first bridge. Here the river widens and slows to a crawl. Houses emerge on both banks, but it doesn’t detract from the natural beauty of the river.

Dabney State to Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site is a popular float that consists of four miles of Class I riffles and numerous access facilities. This section is lined by private property, so paddlers need to stay below the high water mark along the bank. This section is also commonly used for tubing during the summer months.

Estimated Paddle time: 3 hours

The most difficult thing about this run is correctly identifying the takeout spot. Even this is not difficult if you pick out a few landmarks. There will be a railroad trestle and a water tower in view as you paddle over to the takeout spot on the river right. Far in the distance, you will see I-84 hwy marking the Columbia River.

We recommend trying this run or something similar before progressing on to more difficult water.

We recommend the Sea Eagle Explorer for this trip.

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