Want the best outdoor activities near Portland, Oregon? Look no further than these 5 Oregon extreme sports. Surrounded by rivers, mountains, windy gorges and even high desert within just 2 hours of the city, it’s no wonder Oregonians have a reputation of being outdoorsy.
People travel from all over the world to experience the unique geography that makes the Pacific Northwest such a great place for extreme sports. So if you haven’t hit the hotspots below for five of the most extreme and popular sports in Oregon, read on.
If you’ve ever been to Hood River, you’ve probably spotted the colorful sails painting the Columbia River. The Columbia River Gorge is internationally famous for some of the best windsurfing in the world and is even titled “The Windsurfing Capitol of America.”
The choppy waters of the Columbia River are perfect for practicing competitive windsurfing techniques like Speedsurfing, Slalom (racing/regatta), and Big Air (jumping for air time). There are also plenty of windsurfing coaches if you’re a beginner. Kite surfing is another popular activity in the area. These boards with free-floating sails have become almost as popular as windsurfing in recent years. Here are some great tips from Travel Portland if you want to try it out.
(Pro tip: You’ll drive right through Hood River from Portland on the way to the Imperial River Company for rafting in Maupin, so be sure to take a pit stop!)
2. 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. Stay at the Imperial River Company for lodging and rafting on the banks of the Deschutes.
3. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Paddle boarding is an invigorating way to spend time on water with the added benefits of full body exercise. It’s easiest to do SUPing on lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and calm rivers. There are a few spots on the lower Deschutes, however, where you’ll find more challenging runs and whitewater paddle boarding opportunities. In fact, it will be one of the attractions at Ride Row Run on Saturday, September, 15th in Maupin, Oregon.
4. 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 Oregon extreme 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 by taking advantage of updrafts that can lift them to heights as great as 1000 feet. 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 join us for an exciting whitewater rafting trip.