Not a snow person? Then you’ll be happy to hear that the mountains aren’t the only place for wintertime adventuring. Oregon’s coast is the perfect destination for wintertime kayaking.
There are many reasons to try winter kayaking on the coast. For one thing, the water levels in rivers and streams are higher, which means you can paddle father upstream into the hidden creeks and forested waterways. Fewer people means you can get up close to hawks, eagles, elk, river otters and other wildlife. And sometimes the coast is notably warmer than inland areas, especially during an inversion. What’s better than driving out of the metro area fog into the cheerful winter sunshine?
Start your exploration on the Tillamook County Water Trail, 200 miles of navigable water for a variety of skill levels, including flatwater beginner to whitewater expert. The nonprofit Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) has mapped the Nehalem and Tillamook Bay areas. Download maps and information from the TEP website. (As always with kayaking, conditions can change dramatically with the weather and seasons. Know before you go, and be prepared.)
If you’d prefer a guided start to wintertime kayaking, check in with the folks at Kayak Tillamook. Enjoy their wintertime special — Winter Hot Cider Tours, which run through March. Following a half hour of land instruction, the two-hour guided tours come with all needed gear as well as a thermos of hot apple cider for each boater. Rain or shine, it’s a wonderful way to explore the coast and enjoy the season!
To experience what it is like to kayak Tillamook Bay in the winter, check out this video of Grant’s trip with Kayak Tillamook last March.