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Number of days
?
Motorized watercraft allowed?
Yes
Water difficulty
Moderate / Class B
Distance
12.75 mi (20.52 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

An overnight paddling adventure awaits just a short drive or bike ride from downtown Portland. The paddle to Lemon Island from nearby Hayden Island on the Columbia River is a scenic route on open water. From the launch at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe, the route takes you along Marine Drive, past the houseboats, moorages, and Portland International Airport. For those who do not have access to a kayak, Alder Creek will happily rent one. Watch ospreys, cormorants, blue herons, and their noisy mechanical counterparts take flight overhead as you paddle.

Lemon Island is the westernmost extent of the Government Island complex and the closest destination from Hayden Island. Open year round, the island is only accessible by boat. The island is owned by the Port of Portland and leased to and maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as a Sate Recreation Area. Camping is allowed on the island below the vegetation line, and vault toilets and picnic tables are scattered around the islands.

The center of Lemon Island is densely vegetated and hard to navigate, and staying along the shorelines is recommended. The western tip of the island and the floodplain between Lemon Island and Government Island are open and easy to explore, and consequently they become crowded, especially in the summer.

The best time for paddling in the summer is in the morning before 1 p.m. due to afternoon winds. Be sure to check the predicted tidal flows, as this section of the Columbia River rises and falls with the tides. The river actually flows backwards twice a day, which may be helpful if you are paddling upstream.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Short distance from downtown Portland.

Cons

Paddling upstream is strenuous and may take longer than you expect.

Address

NE Marine Dr
8076
Portland, OR 97218
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Fishing
Picnic tables
Bird watching
Wildlife

Site characteristics: Water

River

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Rocky Butte Natural Area, Portland, Oregon
Oregon, Portland Metro Area

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