Clackamas RIVER FULL-DAY RAFTING TRIPS

Fun rapids, beautiful scenery, and easy access from Portland!

Clackamas River Rafting

Rafting on the Upper Clackamas River is famous for its numerous big rapids and easy access with close proximity to the Portland/Vancouver area! It’s perfect for those who are on a time budget. Since the Clackamas River drainage only has a peak of 3500’, the optimal time to raft the Clackamas River is in the spring and early summer months for larger rapids (from March through June). 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!

The age minimum for this trip is 8 years old. The physical and mental criteria for eligibility to participate on any River Drifters river trip can be found on our Essential Eligibility Criteria for participation page.

River Drifters non-discrimination statement.  

River Drifters will provide all the necessary gear to make your trip enjoyable, relaxing and most importantly, hassle free! View our Equipment List on this page for a comprehensive personal gear list.

Please visit our cancellation policy page for full details on cancellations, trip/date changes, and refunds.

“It was perfect! A great way to spend time in nature!! The guide and driver were especially accommodating to our group and gave us plenty of insight on the area. This is definitely the first of many rafting trips I’m planning in the future.”

Adrienne Anastacio

FULL-DAY TRIP DETAILS AND ITINERARY

Meeting Location:

Moore Creek Boat Access Site
Hwy 224; mile marker 35
(Moore Creek Boat Access Site can be found in Google Maps)

Meeting Time:

10:00 am the day of your launch date

Return Time:

Between 2:30 and 3:30 pm

Getting Here:

Moore Creek Boat Access Site is about 40 miles by car from the Portland/Vancouver area and about 60 miles from Salem. The Moore Creek Boat Access Site can be found on Google Maps. All our rafting trips start on time so please plan accordingly. Plan your travel ahead of time by checking estimated drive times, as well as Oregon Trip Check for current delays and road closures.

Please do not arrive more than 30 minutes before the trip start time. If you think you are going to arrive late, please call our office at 800-972-0430. (Note: there is little to NO cell reception in the Clackamas River canyon.) Guests will meet their guides at the Moore Creek Boat Access Site, which has a parking area and restrooms. For early season or cool weather trips, our guides will issue out additional gear including wetsuits, neoprene booties, and splash jackets. Valuables are kept locked in personal vehicles during the trip, and therefore we strongly recommend leaving as many valuables (wallets, money, cellphones, watches, jewelry, etc.) as possible behind at home. Moore Creek is the take-out for the trip and guest vehicles will stay parked there during the rafting trip. Once ready, the group will load up into a River Drifters shuttle and drive to the put-in.

Driving Directions from PDX/Vancouver Area

Take 1-84 E to 1-205 S. Take exit 12A from 1-205 S to merge onto OR-224 E toward Clackamas. Drive Through Estacada and continue toward the North Fork Reservoir. Go about 10 miles to the reservoir and start looking for a large parking area on the left-hand side of the road. A River Drifters van will be parked there and your guides will be there to greet you. You can also find Moore Creek Boat Access Site on Google Maps.

Driving Directions from Salem

Take I-5 N for about 30 miles. Take exit 288 for 1-205 toward I-84/The Dalles/Seattle. Continue onto I-205 N. Take exit 10 for State Route 213 S toward Oregon City/Molalla. Merge onto OR-213 S. Take Redland Rd., which turns into OR-224 E. Drive Through Estacada and continue toward the North Fork Reservoir. Go about 10 miles to the reservoir and start looking for a large parking area on the left-hand side of the road. A River Drifters van will be parked there and your guides will be there to greet you. You can also find Moore Creek Boat Access Site on Google Maps.

Pre-trip Checklist
  • Complete online registration
  • Complete online waiver
  • Plan for the unexpected (travel insurance)
What we provide
  • Transportation
  • Riverside Lunch
  • PFDs, helmets, paddles, and wetsuits and splash tops depending on the weather
What you are responsible for
  • Getting to our location in Estacada
  • Meals and lodging before and after your trip
  • Personal clothing
  • Guide gratuities
Professional Tips

Wetsuits and splash jackets are often recommended for spring and fall trips, and for guests spending time in inflatable kayaks. The wetsuits are 2-3ml “Farmer John” style, which is combined with a splash jacket to provide full-body coverage. Wetsuits and splash jackets are suggested when the air temperature is 75°F or cooler, however children and individuals who get cold easily may want these additional layers when the air temperature is forecasted to be between 75°F to 80°F. Wetsuits and splash jackets are provided by River Drifters and our guides will issue out this gear on cooler weather trips or upon request.

Fleece is a generic term for a spun, polyester fabric developed for outdoor use. It is thick and fluffy and does not absorb water, making it ideal insulation on a river trip. It is commonly called Polartec or Polar Fleece. Polypropylene is a thinner, stretchier, woven variation used predominantly for long underwear. Any polypropylene long underwear will work; heavyweight is the most versatile.

Layering your clothing is an effective way to adjust to the daily weather changes that you may encounter. A light polypropylene layer under a heavy fleece top under a rain shell will get you going on the chilliest of mornings and allow you to shed layers as the day warms up.

Lodging
  • Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, Welches, OR: 503-622-3101
  • Best Western Sandy Inn, Sandy, OR: 503-668-7100
  • Red Fox Motel, Estacada, OR: 503-630-4243
  • Best Western Mt. Hood Inn, Government Camp, OR: 503-272-3205
  • Historic Timberline Lodge, Government Camp, OR: 503-272-3311
Camping
  • Promontory Park Campground, OR HWY 224: 503-630-7229 (sites are reservable)
  • Clackamas River RV Park, OR HWY 224: 503-630-7000
    Many of the Forest Service campgrounds on HWY 224 are still temporarily closed due to the 2020 Riverside Fire. Check the Forest Service website for the most current fire recovery updates.
  • There are many campgrounds in Mt. Hood National Forest.

Check-In: Arrive at Moore Creek Boat Access Site. Change into river clothes, use the restroom, etc. Our guides will outfit guests with a PFD, helmet, and additional gear such as a splash jacket, wetsuit, and neoprene booties if needed.

Shuttle & River Put-In: The group will load into a River Drifters shuttle and drive to the river put-in. Once at the put-in guides will unload gear, give a safety talk, & provide instructions for the basic paddle strokes you will need for a fun trip. Then, the group will go rafting! (The exact put-in location is subject to change based on water levels, river conditions, and river access.)

Lunch: Stop along the river for lunch.

Take-out & Shuttle: Arrive at the take-out (Moore Creek). Return PFD and any other River Drifters equipment, change into dry clothes, and enjoy the rest of the day.

Please keep in mind that every trip is different, as weather, water flow, and group dynamics all influence trip pace.

In the summertime the weather in western Oregon is typically warm & mostly dry. However, you must be prepared for rain & wind in every season. Below is a chart of average temperatures & rainfall in Estacada, Oregon during the rafting season. Please check the weather forecast prior to your trip!

May June July August September
Avg Day 67°F 73°F 80°F 81°F 75°F
Avg Night 46°F 50°F 53°F 53°F 49°F
Rainfall 4.0″ 2.9″ 0.94″ 0.91″ 2.1″

Wetsuits and splash jackets are often recommended for spring and fall trips, and for guests spending time in inflatable kayaks. The wetsuits are 2-3ml “Farmer John” style, which is combined with a splash jacket to provide full-body coverage. Wetsuits and splash jackets are suggested when the air temperature is 75°F or cooler, however children and individuals who get cold easily may want these additional layers when the air temperature is forecasted to be between 75°F to 80°F. Wetsuits and splash jackets are provided by River Drifters and our guides will issue out this gear on cooler weather trips or upon request.

We use paddle rafts. Everyone should come expecting to be active participants in the trip regardless of which type of raft you end up in. If there are any physical limitations, please reach out to us so that we can make sure to accommodate any adjustments you will need.

Paddle Rafts

Paddle rafts are 13 to 15 feet long and carry between 4 to 6 paddlers who actively paddle through the rapids and down the river. Everyone has a paddle, sits on the outer tube of the raft, and follows the commands of the paddle guide who sits in the rear.

If you truly enjoy your trip, tipping is a great way to show your appreciation. Tipping is optional and personal, but since a lot of people ask, a customary amount is between 10 and 15 percent of the trip cost. Tips can be given to the Lead Guide who will share them with the entire crew. And the entire crew will appreciate them and put them to good use. (And thank you.)

If you still have questions, please feel free to call us (800-972-0430) or e-mail us (office@riverdrifters.net). We love to talk about our trips!

EQUIPMENT LIST

Your comfort is our top priority. Clothing and gear worn during your rafting trip on the Clackamas River is largely based on the weather and air temperature. It’s important to note, the temperature of the Clackamas River rarely rises above 55°F. Typically, in the early season (March-June) wetsuits, splash jackets, and neoprene booties are required (provided by River Drifters). On warmer trips (often July & Aug), non-cotton clothing, such as wool, polyester, or another synthetic material, is perfect rafting attire. Regardless of the weather or air temperature, it is required that you wear non-cotton clothing during the rafting trip.

If you have any questions about the gear list or what to wear, please call our office at 800-972-0430.

EQUIPMENT PACKING LIST
  • A pair of quick-drying shorts/bathing suit and a non- cotton shirt (synthetic or polyester are best). On warm days this is perfect clothing for rafting and on cooler days when we issue wetsuits and splash jackets these layers can be worn underneath.
  • Long-sleeved synthetic shirt or fleece (NO cotton) for extra warmth when outdoor temperatures are colder than 80°F or sun protection.
  • Hat for sun protection.
  • Old pair of tennis shoes, neoprene booties with soles, or sandals (closed-toed, such as Keen, are recommended). We recommend shoes that stay on your feet and do not fall off easily. Shoes are required.
  • Sunglasses and/or prescription eyeglasses or contacts.
  • Sunglass strap for both sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses.
  • Change of clothes for after the trip.
OPTIONAL ITEMS

Not absolutely necessary but you are welcome to bring them.

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Personal snacks
  • Waterproof camera or GoPro
  • Small drybag

We will provide: a wetsuit and splash jacket for each guest weather dependent.

Please do not bring: Alcohol, valuable jewelry, bluetooth speakers, guns or irreplaceable items.

ON THE RIVER:

ON HOT DAYS you will want clothing that dries quickly (nylon shorts and bathing suits) and something to shield you from the sun, (a high-tech SPF long-sleeved shirt or an old lightweight cotton dress shirt and maybe even lightweight long pants or capris). Also, a brimmed hat and a bandana are helpful for staying cool.

ON COOL DAYS you will want a thick, synthetic fleece top, (pullovers are best) and a sturdy, fully waterproof rain shell. You may also want fleece pants or polypropylene long underwear bottoms and rain pants, particularly before mid-June. Don’t bring a cotton sweatshirt and a windbreaker; cotton is worthless when wet and won’t work for on-river insulation and you need something waterproof over your fleece.

ON YOUR FEET you will want shoes that stay on if you go for a swim and are comfortable for hiking. Sport sandals with heel straps (Tevas, Chacos, Keen, etc.) work well, (buckles are better than velcro). Old running shoes work well and are easy to find. Neoprene, wool or fleece socks will add a bit of insulation under shoes or sandals. Wetsuit booties work but can be a bit clammy after a full day.

Think layers. The key to being comfortable on the Clackamas is being dry and adaptable; a thin synthetic layer (polypro) next to your skin with a thick synthetic layer (fleece) over it with a waterproof layer (wetsuit and splash jacket or drysuit) over that seems to work the best. Feet and hands get cold easily and we suggest wetsuit booties or neoprene socks under sturdy shoes and neoprene gloves or fleece and dishwashing gloves. Cotton is worthless when wet and should not be used for on-river insulation.

Professional Dressing Tips

‘Fleece’ is a generic term for a spun, polyester fabric developed for outdoor use. It is thick and fluffy and does not absorb water, making it ideal insulation on a river trip. It is commonly called Polartec or Polar Fleece. Polypropylene is a thinner, stretchier, woven variation used predominantly for long underwear. Any polypropylene long underwear will work; heavyweight is the most versatile.

Layering your clothing is an effective way to adjust to the daily weather changes that you may encounter. A light polypropylene layer under a heavy fleece top under a rain shell will get you going on the chilliest of mornings and allow you to shed layers as the day warms up.

Where to find it:

Local outdoor or sporting goods stores should have everything you need and fleece garments are now available at most department and closeout stores. Great selections of river trip gear are also available on-line through:

  • Pacific River Supply (drysuit rentals)
  • Northwest River Supplies
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • REI
  • Patagonia
Professional Shopping Tip
  • Thrift Store
Clackamas River Full-Day Rafting Trips
Clackamas River Rafting

Clackamas River Full-Day

Season: April - June
Duration: One Day
Length: 16 miles
Price: 90-105
Rapids: III-IV
Skill Level: Continuous paddling
Age Minimum: 8
Trip Itinerary

Are you ready for your rafting adventure on the Clackamas River?