Willamette River

Eugene, Springfield, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Pleasant Hill - Lowell, Oakridge - Westfir

This river is important to Oregon. The largest cities in the state all sit beside its banks. It flows through farmland and forest with its source waters high in the Cascade Mountains. The Willamette River connects people. Accessing the river by motorboat or paddling vessel is a fun way to experience nature and history.  

The Willamette River is 187 miles (301 km) long, lying entirely in northwestern Oregon. It has three separate forks (main stem, middle and coast forks) flowing northward between the Oregon Coast Range and Cascade Range. The river and its tributaries form a basin called the Willamette Valley, home of the Kalapuya people. The main stem of the Willamette River meanders through Eugene - Springfield. This broad and beautiful stretch of river is easily accessible by parks, bike paths and foot bridges near both downtowns.

The Coast Fork feeds into Cottage Grove Reservoir, enjoyed by boating, swimming and fishing. The North Fork, popular for rafting and fishing, winds through the mountain communities of Oakridge and Westfir.

Aerial view of Eugene and Willamette River
: JHamilton

Aerial view of Eugene and Willamette River

River Recreation

There are many ways to enjoy the Willamette River. If you don't have your own watercraft, local guides can provide safe and fun experiences on the water. If you prefer off-the-water experiences, find a nice place along the banks to watch for birds and fish on the Middle Fork Path from Clearwater Park in Springfield to the Ruth Bascom Bike Path which follows the river through downtown Eugene. 

The Willamette River is popular for fishing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, floating and rafting. Forty miles of the "Willamette River Water Trail" — one of the most extensive water trails in the state — offers multiple launch sites and access from ten different campgrounds. 

Fish for trout along North Fork of the Willamette River as it flows through Oakridge in the Cascades. Fly-fishing with barbless hooks only, catch and release. This is a "Wild & Scenic" section. Access from pullouts and seasonal campgrounds along Forest Service Rd #19.

Share the water! Listen for motorboats and paddle closer together in groups when you hear a motorboat approaching. Remember that motorboats need deeper water to safely operate and pass. Be sure to always carry the appropriate gear onboard and have a valid permit. Keep our waterways clean and Take Care Out There.

Paddling at Jasper State Park by Andrew Kim

Paddling at Jasper State Park

Navigating the Willamette River

Top Boat Launch Sites

Willamette River Guides & Gear

Connect with professional guides and gear shops to plan your Willamette River excursion. From scenic jet boat tours to Willamette River fishing guides, from kayak rentals to river tubes (and safety tips); find out when fish are biting, what tackle you need, what stretches of river are best for what type of floats, and more! Guides can also help you determine which permits and licenses you will need.

Riverfront Dining

Dine along the banks of the Willamette River at McMenamins North Bank in Eugene or at Roaring Rapids Pizza Company in Springfield.

A couple cheers cocktails.
: Melanie Ryan Griffin

McMenamins North Bank in Eugene

River Partners

Willamette Riverkeeper is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Willamette River and its watershed. Established in 1996 as “Friends of the Willamette River,” this group routinely holds educational and volunteer opportunities in Eugene and Portland. The annual August Willamette River Festival is held in partnership with multiple agencies to honor the river. Join in Kalapuya ceremonies, paddling instruction and river rafting experiences.

The Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council focuses on the Coast Fork of the river flowing from the Mt. Pisgah area to Cottage Grove, and monitors area water quality. The Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council stewards the Middle Fork from Pleasant Hill to Oakridge. Both offer educational programs and volunteer events as part of their stewardship efforts to restore and protect their watersheds.

The Willamette Fish Hatchery is located in Oakridge and participates in monitoring and supporting the Willamette River's fish populations. In addition to raising spring chinook and rainbow trout, the hatchery provides an educational visitor's center. 

The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission is responsible for processing waste before returning the water to the Willamette River. They are deeply invested in environmental impacts and community education around water conservation and practices. Some of their programs include their Clean Water University curriculum, facility tours and pollution prevention tips.

Canoe Paddling Instruction by Willamette Riverkeeper
: Black Cultural Festival

Canoe Paddling Instruction by Willamette Riverkeeper

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