Kayaking Oregon’s Tillamook Coast

Photo © Tillamook Coast

Fast, flat or lumpy—on the Tillamook Coast, kayakers choose their water.

With one big ocean, three bays, five major rivers, multiple lakes and dozens of sloughs and inlets, kayakers and paddle sports enthusiasts have a rich choice of water bodies to choose from. There’s something for every skill level, from first-timers to professional.

If you’re an experienced kayaker and prefer fast water, try paddling the Wilson River. Put in at Jones Creek Forest Camp in the Tillamook Forest and navigate the 16.6 miles through the Coast Mountain Range to Tillamook, experiencing class II-IV whitewater along the way.

Beginners or intermediate paddlers will enjoy the abundance of flat water in the bays and estuaries. Start at Wheeler Marina, in downtown Nehalem or Little Nestucca River in Pacific City to explore the gentle and wildlife-rich coastal waterways. The Tillamook County Water Trail (tbnep.org/water-trails.phpn) is an official National Recreation Trail, offering 250 miles of navigable waters for paddlers on the bays and estuaries of Netarts, Nehalem, Tillamook and Nestucca.

The most avid kayakers will find their thrills on lumpy water—ocean waters and waves. Each fall, sea kayakers gather on the Oregon Coast for the Lumpy Waters Symposium(lumpywaters.com) to hone their skills.

You can order free, waterproof Tillamook Coast Water Trails Maps at tillamookcoast.com/kayaking. For guided tours, visit kayaktillamook.com. To rent a kayak, contact Wheeler Marina at wheelermarina.net or Nestucca Adventures in Pacific City at 503-965-0060. For more information on visiting the Tillamook Coast, go to tillamookcoast.com.

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