5 Extreme Sports to Try in Oregon

Oregonians are natural outdoorsy types, which is why the Northwest is such a great place for extreme sports made for rivers, mountains, and windy gorges. In fact, people travel from afar to experience our unique geography and to hit the many hotspots for five of the most extreme and popular sports in Oregon.


If you’ve ever been to Hood River, you’ve probably spotted the colorful sails crowding the Columbia River on a windy day. Because the gorge at Hood River is such a consistently windy spot, it’s become America’s windsurfing capital. The choppy waters of the Columbia River are perfect for practicing competitive windsurfing techniques like Speedsurfing, Slalom, and Big Air. There are also plenty of windsurfing coaches if you’re a beginner. You’ll also find kite surfing taking off in the area. These boards with free-floating sails have become almost as popular as windsurfing in recent years.

Whitewater Rafting

Although Oregon is most known for the wide waters of the Columbia River, it’s also home to some major tributaries that have a beauty and sport all their own. If you visit Maupin, Oregon, you’ll find the lower section of the Deschutes River and rapids that are perfect for whitewater rafting. From late spring to early fall, people travel to this Central Oregon town to take in the views of the Deschutes River Canyon along with the thrills of the whitewater.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Maybe you’ve been looking for something more recent in the sports world? Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is a new water sport that has started trending. You’ll find it’s easiest to do SUPing on lakes, ponds, and calm rivers. There are a few spots on the lower Deschutes where you’ll find regular paddle boarders. In fact, it will be one of the attractions at Ride Row Run on Saturday, September, 19th in Maupin, Oregon.

Rock Climbing

Oregon has a unique assortment of geographical features that are perfect for rock climbing. Whether you’re looking for snow peaked mountain tops like Mt. Hood or craggy rocks jutting from the high desert like Smith Rock, you’re bound to find a challenging climb in Oregon. Smith Rock is well known to Oregon climbers, as it hosts 1800 climbing routes and a challenging welded tuff face of 550 feet high. The climbing feature is settled in a river canyon in Smith Rock State Park where visitors will find plenty of space for camping and hiking.


Paragliding is another sport that’s just perfect for Oregon winds. Paragliders don’t use engines, but their flight can actually last hours and go for many miles. They can extend their flight like this by taking advantage of updrafts that can lift them to heights as much as 1000 feet high. This sport is particular popular in the Willamette valley where gliders can launch from high plateaus and sail over the long, wide valley below.

If you’re looking for an extreme water sport experience in Oregon, we invite you to check in to Imperial River Company in Maupin, Oregon. Relax in our lodge, eat dinner on the banks of the Deschutes River, and go on an exciting whitewater rafting trip.

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