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This section of the Columbia River is one of the more unique places I've ever canoed. The mix of urban development among some very natural settings is surprisingly pleasant. While camping on a beach on Government Island, it was extremely relaxing yet across the river is the Portland International Airport. Nearby was a busy freeway and in the center of the island, the U.S. military was doing training exercises dropping off and picking up Marines in the dark of night. The route we took started at the town of Cascade Locks. Shortly we came to the Bonneville Dam where we asked to go through the locks. The engineers were a bit nervous about it but gave us the ok and they all watched from above scratching their heads wondering what we were thinking. That first day ended with a campsite at Beacon Rock State Park. There we were able to take a hike up the rock to the summit for a fantastic view of the river. Our trip continued through Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area where we had views of waterfalls including the biggest of all, Multnomah Falls. Along the way we passed large shipping vessels, trains right along the shore and numerous state parks. Once we reached Portland, we turned up the Willamette River for a few miles, then took a turn into the Multnomah Channel. This channel was much less developed and more tailored for canoeing than the Columbia. We passed many small house boat communities until finally reaching or destination at the town of St. Helens. The trip took 6 days with driving from Seattle and gave us well over the 50 miles for our scout award.

Canoeing the Columbia River Gorge

Bonneville Dam locks top of Beacon Rock Camping on Government Island Shipping docks distant Mt. Hood Multnomah Channel Columbia Gorge Map
Looking east from the top of Beacon Rock
Shipping docks
Camping on Government Island across from the airport with the I-205 bridge
Going through the Bonneville Dam locks
A distant Mt. Hood
Multnomah Channel
Beacon Rock Hike