From our friends at www.islesurfandsup.com
Paddle Boarding in Oregon
When you talk about the best places to go stand up paddleboarding in the US, there might be a lot of debate, but there is never a conversation without mentioning Oregon. Recently, Bend, Oregon was voted the Best SUP Getaway by Outside Magazine.
Bend, Oregon (located in central Oregon) is packed with a variety of prime paddleboarding destinations – from the iconic Deschutes river to easily-accessible pristine lakes and surf-able whitewater parks. The scenic landscape really amps up these unique paddling experiences with towering Ponderosa pines and the magnificent volcanic mountains of the Cascade Range.
We narrowed down the multitude of paddleboard spots to the top 5 Central Oregon SUP destinations.
-Perfect Paddles Travel Brief-
Best Time of Year to Visit:
The best time to visit Portland is from June to August when consistently warm weather allows the city's outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city's roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom. (www.travel.usnews.com)
The average high temperature during the warm months in Oregon hovers around 71.4°F. (www.weather-us.com) Be wary of the temperatures when planning your visit. Make sure the temperatures are correct for spending time on the water!
SUP Environments to Paddle In
SUP Activity Highlights:
The beautiful landscapes and thick forested woods of Oregon are a great place to experience a guided tour. Let an experienced guide take you on an unforgettable journey through the beautiful waters off the coast. To look up a tour in your desired area, use our Locations/Activities guide HERE!
Perfect Paddles Deals to Get Your Ready for Your Trip:
RHEOS (Floating) Sunglasses- 15% off with Member Benefits
Duk Gear- 20% off a waterproof cell phone case with Member Benefits
Amphibian Outdoors- Save $20 on your purchase with Member Benefits
Check out more of our gear options HERE!
Interested in any of these extra activities? Be sure to head HERE to find a list of paddle pros in the area and what they offer!
Much of Oregon’s attractions lay in its beautiful natural sceneries. Consider your Oregon vacation an opportunity to explore the natural world!
Crater Lake National Park: Crater Lake National Park is in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. It’s known for its namesake Crater Lake, formed by the now-collapsed volcano, Mount Mazama. Wizard Island is a cinder cone near the western edge of the lake. The Rim Drive, a road surrounding the lake, offers views of the park’s volcanic formations. The park’s numerous trails include Sun Notch, with views of the Phantom Ship, a small island.
Mount Hood: Mount Hood is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. It was formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast and rests in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties.
Multnomah Falls: Multnomah Falls is a waterfall located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, Oregon, United States. The waterfall is accessible from the Historic Columbia River Highway and Interstate 84.
Oregon Dunes National Park: The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is located on the Oregon Coast, stretching approximately 40 miles north of the Coos River in North Bend to the Siuslaw River in Florence, and adjoining Honeyman State Park on the west.
Portland Japanese Garden: Many styles of gardens showcased in serene 5.5-acre space with waterfall, teahouse & mountain view.
Oregon Zoo: The Oregon Zoo, originally the Portland Zoo and later the Washington Park Zoo, is a zoo located in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon, approximately 2 miles southwest of downtown Portland. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River. The 64-acre zoo is owned by the regional Metro government.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a U.S. national monument in Wheeler and Grant counties in east-central Oregon.
For reference, be sure to check out our Perfect Paddles Activities map! For the Oregon Area, you will find it below:
Perfect Paddles Shops/Outfitters we recommend:
1. Adventure Fitness LLC, Bend
2. Uprising Paddleboard Co, Eugene
3. Oregon Paddle Sports, Eugene
4. Clackamas River Outfitters, Estacada
5. Big Winds, Hood River
Buddy Deals: Don’t forget to take advantage of our fantastic Buddy Deals for exclusive discounts for our members! To become a member head HERE.
1) Elk Lake
A short 30-minute drive up Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway gets you to Bend’s summer playground of Elk Lake. This lake wins over the crowd thanks to its great beaches, epic views and the amenities at Elk Lake Resort.
The hallmark of the lake is the incredible views of towering Mt. Bachelor and South Sister, which are especially epic if you get out on your paddleboard for the morning and evening glass off. This isn’t the place to go if you’re looking to get away from it all, but it is the go-to place for meeting fun like-minded locals and visitors.
- In the Summer Elk Lake Resort features free live music every Saturday night
- Tons of ragged coastline with little inlets and coves to explore
- Lakeside camping is available at the first-come, first-serve campgrounds
2) The Deschutes River
The Deschutes River gently flows north through Central Oregon toward the Columbia River. The temperate river features plenty of opportunities for scenic paddle boarding. A good starting point is at Drake Park right in heart of downtown Bend where there is a slow-moving current upstream past gorgeous riverfront houses and parks. Be sure to check out the new Bend Whitewater Park featuring a standing wave.
Another popular stretch of the Deschutes extends from Riverbend Park downstream along the Old Mill District and the outdoor Les Schwab Amphitheater (plan your paddle to catch some live music). Then, you can head back upstream for solitude and instant immersion in Central Oregon’s high desert landscape.
- Plenty of fantastic take off spots that have a calm current and beautiful scenery
- Paddle along the Old Mill District and the outdoor Les Schwab Amphitheatre to catch some live music
- Experience Oregon’s high desert landscape when paddling upstream
3) East Lake At Newberry National Volcanic Monument
East Lake is located in Newberry National Volcanic Monument just 30 minutes south of Bend. A $10 access fee gets you into the Monument which is home to the Newberry Volcano—the largest volcano in the Cascade Range. You will also find waterfalls, lava caves, hiking, mountain biking trails, and two major lakes—East Lake and Paulina Lake.
East Lake is a little further into the park and a bit quieter. It encompasses 6,371 feet and has a depth of 185 feet surrounded by breathtaking forests and plenty of sandy beaches.
- Well known for its fishing (perfect for SUP fishing)
- Easy access to take off points
- Campgrounds wrap around the south and east shores (plan ahead and book in advance because campsites tend to sell out)
4) Devil’s Lake
Although relatively small, Devil’s Lake packs a vast experience. The draw is obvious from the breathtaking crystal-clear turquoise water set off by the white pumice bottom. Central Oregon’s volcanic geography figures prominently on the east end of the lake where an ancient lava flow of black volcanic rock towers overhead.
As you paddle across the lake, plentiful rainbow and brook trout are visible in the clear waters and eagles sightings are common overhead. Despite the relatively shallow waters—the depth maxes out at ten feet—the water stays extremely cool throughout the hot summers. Mount your GoPro or bring a waterproof case for your camera—you’re definitely going to want to snap some pics of Devil’s Lake. Be aware that parking can be a challenge as the lot acts as the trailhead for the popular Three Sisters Mountain summit.
- Notorious paddle board destination in Central Oregon
- Crystal-clear turquoise water
- The most photogenic spot on our list
5) Suttle Lake
Suttle Lake is another popular recreation area set deep in the Deschutes National Forest, 30 miles north of Bend on Highway 20. The lakeshore is dense with Northwest Lodgepole pines and Ponderosas as far as the eye can see. At just over 250 acres, there’s plenty of lake to explore.
There’s two downsides to Suttle Lake. Firstly, powerboats are permitted on the lake so expect some wakes. Secondly, Suttle has a bad reputation for wind, so your best bet is to paddle during early mornings or evenings.
- Great area for hiking and world-class mountain biking
- Three campgrounds right on the lake (We recommend Blue Bay)
- Has sandy beaches for relaxing
- The Suttle Lake Lodge re-opened last year with new owners and has an Ace Hotel style vibe to it
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