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Skamokawa Images and Information

Skamokawa is a historic Washington town located on the lower Columbia river about 20 miles upriver from Astoria and about two hours from Portland.  It is nestled in the coastal mountain range, and features many paddling options:  slow sloughs, tidal islands, the the mighty Columbia itself.  Afternoon winds can kick up a bit of swell, as can the large ships that pass very close to the shore (be sure to pull your boat extremely far up the beach).

Skamokawa (/skʌˈmɑːkəˌweɪ/) is a Chinook term for smoke or fog on the water (Wikipedia).  If you stay there for any length of time, you will understand how it got the name.

Scroll down for information about the most recent event at this location

Additional resources:

  • How to submit more pictures for this page
  • OOPS runs a paddle weekend at Skamokawa, usually during the last weekend of September.  See below
  • Click to view Skamokawa map location
  • Skamokawa Vista Park's website  - campsites, yurts, trailer hookups, single and group picnic tables, excellent restrooms, etc.
  • Columbia River Kayaking - kayak instruction and tours
  • Conditions in September:
    • As this is the Columbia River, a wet suit or dry suit is recommended.  On the later, layers and wind protection are recommended
    • Fall weather in the Northwest! Likely to be beautiful but be prepared for all conditions!
  • Other Concerns
    • Beyond Skamokawa Vista Park, there is LIMITED access to services such as gasoline, food, restaurants and accommodations.   But there is also a kayak shop (Columbia River Kayaking - an OOPS-affiliated retailer that does not do rentals).

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Skamokawa Annual Event--2017

Your On-site Volunteer Event Team is:

  • Event Manager  [Connie Lively]
  • Trips Coordinator [Mike Cenedella]
  • Concierge [Maureen Cassidy; Paula Lombard will be our chef]

Event HQ will be site shared with you in an email

What: A three-day camping and kayaking trip on the Columbia River

When: August 18-20, 2017 (Friday-Sunday)

Trips: All levels, with emphasis on Level 1 and 2 on the Columbia River and nearby sloughs.  Level 1 trips may be limited due to the potential for wind.   All trip sign-up will be done on-site.  See our Trips Rating Page.

Clothing on the water: A wet suit or dry suit is recommended, but clothing requirements will follow the OOPS Cold Water Policy. Demonstrated ability to perform a wet exit is required, unless you participate in only Level 1 trips and you are not wearing a Sprayskirt, as is compliance with all other OOPS safety policies. Bring layers and wind protection. Organizer will communicate requirements.

Annual Picnic Dinner: Either Friday or Saturday evening is a great potluck with OOPS providing grilled salmon. Registrants will receive more information from the Concierge.  All OOPS members are invited to the salmon dinner.

Accommodations and Cost:  We have 12 sites at Vista Park, located alongside the Columbia River.  The camping registration fee for the entire event (not per day) is $43.  Your individual registration fee, if you aren’t joining us at the group camp site, is $11 for the weekend.  See detailed campground information below.  There may be additional RV, tent, yurts and trailer sites available, which can be reserved directly by members.  However, in 2017, this is the local Fair Weekend, so the park may be full.  TIP: SOONER THAN LATER.  

Camping Details:  For 2017, OOPS has reserved sites 1-3, 6-9, 14-15, and V1-V3 for two nights.  Nine sites have electricity, four of those also have water.  Three have neither, but are along the river.  Bathrooms with showers (50 cents) are steps away.  The Event Team/weekend “Headquarters” will be determined later.  Check-in begins Friday at 1:30 p.m.  Check-out is Sunday by noon. Campsites will be shared. We have planned for approximately three-four people and 2 vehicles per site. You will have a chance to identify which campsite you would like to stay in during registration. Campsite requests will be accepted on a first come first served basis, and we may not be able to honor all requests.

What if you don’t know anybody to share a campsite with? This is your chance to meet some new paddle buddies! We are a friendly group! OOPS will assign the campsites based on your vehicle/equipment needs and the size of the campsites.  

Your registration/camping fee is for the complete event. This includes two nights of camping, salmon dinner, and additional vehicle fees.  DO NOT pay the extra vehicle fee until you have visited your campsite or checked with the Event Manager and you are sure that you are the “extra” vehicle, not the first vehicle.  The Event Manager will pay for or refund any extra vehicle fees on site.

State Park firewood advice:  “Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by getting your firewood at the campground, or close to it. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference.”

Information about the park - click here

Time from Portland: About 2 hours.

Special Considerations: There is LIMITED access to services such as gasoline, food, restaurants and accommodations.  But there is also a kayak shop, Columbia River Kayaking - an OOPS-affiliated retailer (which does not do rentals)!

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