Sandy River Gorge FULL-DAY RAFTING TRIPS

Climb the ‘river ladder’ with progressively tougher IV+ rapids!

Rafting on the Sandy River Gorge is probably one of the best kept secrets on Portland’s doorstep. This run is truly the ‘closest rafting to Portland’ since it is nestled just off of HWY 26 near Sandy and features one of Oregon’s most challenging Class IV+ whitewater runs.

The Sandy River is great for the adventurous rafter with a few trips under their belt especially since the rafting season is mainly in the Spring months when water levels are pumping.

The minimum age for the Sandy River is 16 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 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.

FULL-DAY TRIP DETAILS AND ITINERARY

Meeting Location:

Marmot Bridge
45°23’01.3″N 122°02’47.3″W

Meeting Time:

10:00 am the day of your trip

Return Time:

By 4:00 pm

Getting Here:

Marmot Bridge is about 40 miles by car from the Portland/Vancouver area and about 123 miles from Bend. 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. Guests will meet their guides at the Marmot Bridge. 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. Marmot Bridge 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

Get on I-84 E and follow I-84 E for about 13 miles. Take exit 16 and turn right onto NE 238th Dr in Wood Village. Continue onto NE 242nd Dr then turn left onto NE Burnside Rd. Continue straight onto US-26 E in Gresham. Next, turn left onto E Sleepy Hollow Dr and the parking area will be on the right.

Driving Directions from Bend

Get on US-97 N from NW Bond St and NW Wall St then follow US-97 N and US-26 W for about 122 miles and then turn right onto E Sleepy Hollow Dr in Clackamas County.
The parking area will be on the right.

Pre-trip Checklist
  • Complete online registration
  • Complete online waiver
  • Plan for the unexpected (travel insurance)
What we provide
  • Group rafting gear – rafts, paddles, & first aid kits
  • Riverside Lunch
  • Personal rafting gear – PFDs, helmets, paddles, and wetsuits and splash tops depending on the weather
What you are responsible for
  • Getting to our location in Sandy
  • Meals and lodging before and after your trip
  • Personal clothing and other miscellaneous items (see equipment list)
  • Guides gratuities (see below)
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
  • Resort At The Mountain
  • Government Camp Best Western
  • Timberline Lodge

Check-In: Arrive at Marmot Bridge. 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: Lunch is supplied by River Drifters, and served riverside. Our online registration gives guests an opportunity to share dietary needs or allergies with us prior to your trip. We ask that registration is completed at least one week before your trip so we can do our best to accommodate any needs or restrictions. Please give us a call with any specific questions about meals.

Take-out & Shuttle: Arrive at the take-out and eat lunch. 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, campsites, and group dynamics all influence trip pace

The weather in Oregon in the Spring can be extreme and change quickly. Be prepared for sun, rain, wind and even snow.

Prior to packing for your trip, we recommend that you check the forecast.

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 primarily use paddle rafts but sometimes we also use oar-paddle combination 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 and 8 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. River Drifters handles all the trip logistics, provides all the necessary rafting gear, and makes sure that you have professional, experienced, and well-trained guides. Please read through and adhere to our packing recommendations as it improves your comfort while on the river. If you have any questions about the packing list, please call our office at 800-972-0430.

EQUIPMENT PACKING LIST

These will be worn or packed in a dry-pack that will be on the raft and be accessible during the day.

  • 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. (We have straps available at the outpost.)
  • 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 YOUR BODY 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. 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 Sandy River Gorge 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
Sandy River Gorge Full-Day Rafting Trips

Sandy River Gorge Full Day

Season: April - May *depending on water levels*
Duration: One Day
Length: 17 miles
Price: Custom
Rapids: IV+
Skill Level: Experience required
Age Minimum: 16

Customized trips: call for booking info. 8 person minimum.

Are you ready for your rafting adventure on the Sandy River Gorge?