About Clackamas River Rafting
The Clackamas River originates from Olallie Lake and flows northwesterly through the Cascade Mountains before flowing into the Willamette River. The river carves a very impressive gorge through basalt rock and the river dances beneath old growth Douglas-fir. This river was added to the Federal Wild and Scenic River System in 1988. The Clackamas River received its name from the Clackamas Indian tribe that once lived on the river.
The Clackamas River is the closest whitewater river to Portland and is perfect for those who are on a time budget. Since the Clackamas River drainage only has a peak of 3500’, the optimal time to run the Clackamas River is in the spring and early summer months for larger rapids (from March through June). However, as the water levels begin to drop, the Clackamas River begins to change character and in the Summer months (July and August), the river becomes a tighter, more technical and very fun run! During the Summer months we run half-day trips on the Clackamas River, which is essentially an excerpt of the rivers’ best rapids!
Half Day River Rafting Trips
If your time is in a pinch and you would love to have a great river trip without spending the whole day on the river, or your group only has a few hours to spare their hectic schedules, then our new half-day trips are perfect. We travel 8 miles through some of the rivers’ more famous rapids. The rivers’ lower water levels turns the river into an exciting and technical class III+ run. For almost the entire half-day portion of the trip, the river is filled with back-to-back rapids and beautiful calm pools. Our half-day trips meet at 9:30am and 1:30pm, so no matter how full your schedule is, a few hours of your time will be great retreat for yourself!
The Clackamas River is famous for its numerous big rapids, easy access and close proximity to the Portland/Vancouver area! River Drifters was one of two original companies that were allowed to commercially run the Clackamas, come see the difference of what an experienced outfitter will make!
(Child pricing is 14 years old and younger)
Full Day River Rafting Trip
On the Clackamas River one may encounter numerous rapids, incredible scenery, Rocky Mountain Elk, pine martins, osprey, bald eagles or even the northern spotted owl! The thick and lush riverside riparian vegetation, make this river a forested gem! The section of the Clackamas River that we run commercially, is known as the ‘Upper Clackamas’. This portion of the river is filled with class III+ and class IV rapids like; Powerhouse, Carter’s Bridge Falls, Hole in the Wall, Toilet Bowl and Bob’s Hole.
Our full-day adventure begins with a beautiful drive along the Clackamas River, where most people are wide-eyed at what the day will include. The trip begins with a thorough paddling, safety and historical briefing of the river and then its time to hit the rapids! There is a small warm-up before our first major rapid called Powerhouse (class III+). From there, we will paddle through countless rapids and witness breath-taking scenery. A little over halfway we will stop for a much-needed break and have a great lunch. After lunch awaits the some of the best and most famous rapids of the day. The trips concludes at Memaloose (where your vehicles are conveniently located).
Our full day trips on the Clackamas River meets at 10:00am at Memaloose and the trip ends near 3:30pm. This trip will give one the chance to see some of the various listed wildlife above, as well as many big rapids! One of the great advantages of the full-day trip (besides the higher water and larger waves), is the beautiful six-mile uppermost section of the run. This section includes remote water, more chances for seeing wildlife and many big and challenging rapids!
Download Full-Day Trip Itinerary
(Child pricing is 14 years old and younger)
Meeting Place: Memaloose Parking Area
GPS Waypoint: 45.196722, -122.216917
Camping/Lodging around Clackamas River
As you drive along the Clackamas River along HYW 224 you will pass a number of great camping areas: Memaloose, Lazy Bend, Carter Bridge, Armstrong, Fish Creek, Roaring River, Sunstrip, Indian Henry & many more. Most of these camp sites are within 15 minutes of our meeting site and most camp areas have drinking water, fire pits & restrooms available.
Learn more about camping in the Mt. Hood National Forest
- The Resort at the Mountain in Welches: 800-669-7666
- Sandy Inn Best Western in Sandy: 503-668-7100
- Red Fox Motel in Estacada: 503-630-4243