The Willamette River is such a rewarding place to paddle. After the swiftwater passes through the Eugene / Springfield area it becomes more open and forgiving. Heading North of the urban area the river enters the historic floodplain. Over time the main channel has had a tendency to change course is different spots. So each Spring we never know what to expect downriver. While the current mellows out on this section of the river there are still some challenges to consider. Most notably are the strainers (trees in the channel). There are also a few eddylines that can capsize small boats if the paddler isn’t ready for them.
With so many river miles on the Willamette Water Trail. It’s hard to select where to go! This tour starts at Whitely Boat Ramp in Eugene. River Loop to Chapman Drive. Look for the Lane County Parks Sign. Parking fee is $4. Paddling from here to Marshall Island Access is about 6.5 river miles. Along the way there is a great stop at Green Island to enjoy lunch and check out the restoration work that’s underway by the McKenzie River Trust. They made this map and it shows how the historic McKenzie River channel has shifted around.