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Portage Bay Sea Kayaking

Seattle

Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, Washington

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Portage Bay Sea Kayaking

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  • West Montlake Park. The small gravel beach is in the central-right grouping of trees.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • This small garvel beach provides an excellent launch point.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Looking out over Portage Bay. University Bridge and Ship Canal Bridge off in the distance.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A coverd dock in Portage Bay.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Covered slips in Portage Bay.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A shaft of light illuminates a tree under WA-520.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A fellow kayaker provides scale under WA-520.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Paddling northwest toward the University Bridge.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Exploring a tree hanging over the water under the Ship Canal Bridge.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • A large boat docked on the ship canal.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
  • Under the Ship Canal Bridge.- Portage Bay Sea Kayaking
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access. Good for beginners. Good for a short adventure.
Cons: 
Small and busy. Lots of ship canal traffic. Highway noise.
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Region:
Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
7.50 mi (12.07 km)
Water difficulty: 
Moderate / Class B
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Contributor

The busy little Portage Bay located in Seattle’s Ship Canal is home to several boating clubs (Agua Verde, Seattle Yacht Club, and the Queen City Yacht Club), the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and a quiet neighborhood of houseboats. Before the construction of the Ship Canal, transporting logs from Union Bay to Lake Union required a portage over the Montlake Isthmus, and Portage Bay earned its name by being the bay into which the logs were deposited.

There is a small beach on the northwest corner of West Montlake Park that has a small beach that provides the gentlest non-dock based launch point for Portage Bay. While there are usually a fair amount of small boats on the water, most of them are from one of the several previously mentioned boating clubs and are pretty harmless when given a wide berth. However, do be mindful of the vessels traveling through the ship canal, as many of them can be quite large. 

Portage Bay, Union Bay, the Washington Arboretum, and Lake Washington can be accessed via the Montlake Cut to the east, and Lake Union can be reached by following the Ship Canal to the west.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(96 within a 30 mile radius)

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