While not technically on Cottage Grove Lake, this small roadside park takes full advantage of the Coast Fork Willamette River as it resumes its flow once it exits the reservoir. Compared to the more robust parks along Cottage Grove Lake such as nearby Shortridge Park, Riverside is almost more of a rest stop. But it is a rest stop with some great swimming opportunities attached, and there are sure to be fewer people simply due to the more modest amenities.
The basics are in tact at Riverside. Visitors will find plenty of parking, a vault toilet, picnic tables, plenty of shade thrown by the riverside trees, and a path that leads upstream toward the dam. The Coast Fork Willamette River is deep enough for lengthy swims here, but jumping in is not advised. This freshly released water is quite turbid, so discovering hazards would be a process of trial and error, which isn’t the right way to discover hazards. Still, several small access trails make wading in a great option, and the flows here are predictable enough to keep unexpected currents out of the picture.
Keep in mind that this area is also very popular with fishermen. This can mean hooks, line, and other tackle in the foliage along the bank, so water shoes are recommended.