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2288
Washington

Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: Exploration and Discovery

Paddle along the basalt cliffs, Sitka spruce swamps, and tidal marshes of the Columbia River estuary with experts as you improve your kayak technique and learn about this grand region.
Rating (5)
Program No. 2288RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,099
Washington

Kayaking the Lower Columbia River: Exploration and Discovery

Paddle along the basalt cliffs, Sitka spruce swamps, and tidal marshes of the Columbia River estuary with experts as you improve your kayak technique and learn about this grand region.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,099
Program No. 2288 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Aug 1 - Aug 6, 2021
Micro group
Starting at
1,149
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” with only 8-12 participants.

Aug 15 - Aug 20, 2021
Micro group
Starting at
1,149
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” with only 8-12 participants.

Aug 29 - Sep 3, 2021
Starting at
1,149
Sep 12 - Sep 17, 2021
Starting at
1,149
Sep 26 - Oct 1, 2021
Starting at
1,149
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
1,099
Apr 24 - Apr 29, 2022
Starting at
1,099
May 22 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Jun 5 - Jun 10, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Jun 19 - Jun 24, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Jul 3 - Jul 8, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Jul 17 - Jul 22, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Aug 7 - Aug 12, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Sep 4 - Sep 9, 2022
Starting at
1,149
Oct 2 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
1,149
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Aug 1 - Aug 6, 2021
Micro group
Starting at
1,399
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” with only 8-12 participants.

Aug 15 - Aug 20, 2021
Micro group
Starting at
1,399
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” with only 8-12 participants.

Aug 29 - Sep 3, 2021
Starting at
1,399
Sep 12 - Sep 17, 2021
Starting at
1,399
Sep 26 - Oct 1, 2021
Starting at
1,399
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
1,349
Apr 24 - Apr 29, 2022
Starting at
1,349
May 22 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Jun 5 - Jun 10, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Jun 19 - Jun 24, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Jul 3 - Jul 8, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Jul 17 - Jul 22, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Aug 7 - Aug 12, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Sep 4 - Sep 9, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Oct 2 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
1,399

At a Glance

Skamokawa is the ideal starting point for exploring the lower Columbia River by kayak. Paddle in a variety of habitats, from narrow sloughs winding through Sitka spruce swamps to wide-open expanses on the estuary of the Columbia. Walk among the giant trees of an ancient coastal forest. In addition to giving professional kayak instruction, your leaders are experts in local history, geology and wildlife.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Kayaking in single or double kayaks up to six hours. No previous kayak experience necessary.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Weave your way through the long chain of tidal marsh islands that comprise the 35,000-acre Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Paddle along the 90-foot cliffs and waterfalls of the Lower Gorge, or through the quiet Sitka spruce swamps of the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge.
  • Enjoy two traditional music performances: “Songs of the Lower Columbia” and “River Songs."

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Andrew Emlen
Since starting Skamokawa's kayaking program in 1998, Andrew Emlen has led more than 250 Road Scholar programs. Andrew has a master's degree in environmental studies. A former instructor of environmental science, geology labs and field biology, he is well-versed on local birds, mammals, insects, plants and mushrooms. Andrew plays cello, guitar and several other instruments with his fellow local musicians during evening presentations that feature music of the lower Columbia River. He is a certified wilderness first responder.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Andrew Emlen
Andrew Emlen View biography
Since starting Skamokawa's kayaking program in 1998, Andrew Emlen has led more than 250 Road Scholar programs. Andrew has a master's degree in environmental studies. A former instructor of environmental science, geology labs and field biology, he is well-versed on local birds, mammals, insects, plants and mushrooms. Andrew plays cello, guitar and several other instruments with his fellow local musicians during evening presentations that feature music of the lower Columbia River. He is a certified wilderness first responder.
Profile Image of Kyleen Austin
Kyleen Austin View biography
Kyleen has been exploring the outdoors her entire life and has led Road Scholar programs since 2014. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has completed the British Canoe Union’s four-star kayak sea leader training. Kyleen studied English and Music in college, worked as a worldwide marketing director for IBM, directed the American River Conservancy and is a cheese-loving founder of Little Island Creamery on Puget Island. The multi-talented Kyleen is also a singer-songwriter. Watch her perform on her programs for Road Scholar!
Profile Image of Connor Emlen-Petterson
Connor Emlen-Petterson View biography
Connor Petterson has been a leader for Columbia River Kayaking since 2016. He is studying biology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and leads Road Scholar adventures when he is home in the summer. In addition to his extensive knowledge of natural history, Connor holds a Wilderness First Responder certification.
Profile Image of Levi Helms
Levi Helms View biography
Levi Helms grew up in Wahkiakum County and started kayaking with Columbia River Kayaking in 2005. He has his BCU Three Star Sea Kayak and Wilderness First Responder certifications and has led Road Scholar programs since 2015. Levi is also a builder and home gardener. He loves to share personal tales of growing up in Skamokawa.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
River of the West: Stories from the Columbia
by Robert Clark
This beautifully written book tells the story of the Columbia through the individual stories of its inhabitants, from Native Americans early and modern, explorers, missionaries, emigrants, fishermen and those seeking new lives during the dam-building era.
Northwest Passage: the Great Columbia River
by William Dietrich
Possibly the most comprehensive of the histories of the Columbia, broad in scope, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska
by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon
This is the best plant guide for our area. Organized by family, it has good photographs and drawings and rewards identification of each plant with a wealth of ecological information and notes on human uses.
Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
by Robert Michael Pyle
Bob Pyle, a winner of the John Burroughs award for natural history (for Wintergreen), here has written what Kathleen Dean Moore best described as “a lovingly rendered ecology of people in their home place”, just west of Skamokawa in Gray’s River.
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
by Stephen E. Ambrose
This biography of Meriwether Lewis is the book that rekindled interest in the Lewis & Clark expedition, a bestseller with footnotes. Don’t expect a great deal of information on the Columbia, however. A Montanan, Ambrose wrote twice as much text per mile on the Missouri River as he did on the Columbia. All the same, a nice complement to a week following Lewis & Clark’s trail along the lower Columbia.
Seeking Western Waters: The Lewis & Clark Trail for the Rockies to the Pacific
by Emory and Ruth Strong
These authors have done something unique. For each day of the expedition’s travel in the Columbia River watershed, they provide a journal excerpt, explanatory text, and a photograph. Nearly every page provides a photo of an artifact, landscape, plant or animal described in the journals of Lewis and Clark.
Naked Against the Rain: The People of the Lower Columbia 1770-1830
by Rick Rubin
This book is hard to find, but it is an excellent account of the Chinookan peoples native to the lower Columbia River.
Way to the Western Sea: Lewis & Clark Across the Continent
by David Lavender
Looking for one short, readable book that tells the entire Lewis & Clark story? Lavender encapsulates it all, adding interesting background and context for the events of the expedition. This is the book I was handed by the staff of Fort Clatsop National Memorial when I began volunteering there in 1992.
Beach of Heaven: A History of Wahkiakum County
by Irene Martin
Local historian, gill-netter and Episcopal priest, Irene Martin has won a Governor's Heritage Award for her books on local history. She lives in Skamokawa and will be an evening program presenter for our Road Scholar program.
15 Reviews
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5 Average
(5)

Wonderful trip! Expert guides. Liked accommodations.

(5)

The Columbia River Kayak hosts Kyleen Austin and Andrew Emlen made this kayaking adventure one that we will forever remember and hold close in our hearts. They were warm and inviting, professional and safety conscious, shared information enthusiastically, inclusive and attentive to everyone and incredibly knowledgeable. While kayaking on the mighty Columbia, its tributaries and sloughs, they shared the regions and peoples history and stories. They helped spot and record all the species of birds that were spotted while we were kayaking for the birding enthusiasts. They were literal experts and fountains of knowledge on the tides, the culture, the peoples, the fishing industry, wildlife and their identification, plant and marine life, and every aspect of Lewis and Clark history. The local historian expert who shared Skamokawa and its peoples and fishing history was fascinating to hear from and visit with. Musical performances by the band guides Andrew and Kyleen were a part of were full of songs written by them focusing on the region and Columbia River and the music and the performances were incredible. They performed with joy and the band was as tight and perfect in performance as any you'll see anywhere. Anyone who loves kayaking, learning, Lewis & Clark history, enjoys music, and wants to learn about a unique Chinook people's culture and have a Columbia River experiential delight will want to consider this program.

(5)

If you're looking for an exhilarating program that includes outdoor activity, birdwatching, awesome scenery, history that comes alive and wonderful people who love what they do; Kayaking on the Columbia River is for you. This was my fourth year and I plan to do it every year as long as I am able.

(5)

An amazing experience. Couldn't have been better.

(5)

Lovely trip. Plan for rain which is okay. You will be well outfitted. If you like the outdoors you understand the weather. Area is lovely, guides are great.

(5)

This trip was an excellent balance of physical activity, outdoor recreation, learning about history and local culture and environmental education. As a novice kayaker, I was very comfortable and we were well instructed and guided. Kyleen and Andrew are quite diverse in their talents, experience and expertise. It was an outstanding experience.

(5)

I am a first time Road Scholar adventurer and must admit I did not think the program would live up to other companies I have used for trips. Especially because the price was so reasonable. But this trip was amazing. Like all trips the leaders and the folks on the trip make it memorable. I cannot say enough about Kyleen and Andrew as our leaders. They took excellent care of all of us, kept us busy, provided history and nature information, provided nightly entertainment (of very high quality!) and made sure we were always feed enough. I will take this trip again in the future. Also the accommodations were first rate. Every day was filled with pure joy !

(5)

Seeing the Lower Columbia from a kayak is an eye-opening experience. The guides from Columbia River Kayaking are naturalists and historians in addition to being excellent kayak guides and we saw and learned so much about the area.

(5)

This program is five star! The cookie cutter Road Scholar supply list is inappropriate for this trip, I suggest contacting Columbia River Kayaking for a better list.

(5)

Wonderful time on the water. Inspiring immersion into the natural and human history of a beautiful place. Evening music two nights that cracks your heart open. Personable, attentive, funny, skillful guides. Love this trip so much I have done it twice, learning new things each time.

(5)

An excellent educational program which combined kayaking with history and musical presentations. We came specifically for the kayaking and became fascinated by the history of the area from Lewis and Clark to the present. The kayaking is doable by anyone, as the guides are accommodating, professional, safety oriented and full of local and nature history information. There were more evening programs on this trip than any other RS program we attended, and each one was exceptional. The musical offerings by Andrew and his band were a highlight. This program rates a 10 out of 10 score.

(5)

Wonderful trip! The kayaking was individualized enough for each participant to enjoy. Guides were the best in explaining the history, geology and nature surrounding us. Evening entertainment especially the music was a perfect end of the day. We were busy but overall a relaxing adventure. Highly Recommend if you are interested in seeing this area and kayaking!

(5)

This active program is sited on the beautiful Columbia River. The tour leaders are kind, knowledgeable and fun to be with. You'll see many birds (eagles, osprey, vultures, pelican ++), maybe river otters and beavers too, paddle through interesting geological features, and follow the path of Lewis and Clark. Highly recommended!

(5)

Great trip. Trip leader was particularly knowledgeable and helpful. A great way to get away from the world. We learned lots about Lewis and Clark and that area of the Columbia River.

(5)

This is such a wonderful trip I have done it twice. Highly recommend for history and an overall wonderful experience. Well planned and great guides!






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