Sandy River Swimming – Portland Metro Area

Sandy River Swimming - Oxbow Park




There is nothing more healing to the mind and the soul than moments with nature. When planning for weekend summer adventures, choose a destination that will offer you the best recreation while keeping you in touch with wild nature. One such destination near Portland is the lower section of wild undammed Sandy River, a tributary of the Columbia River. Originating on Mount Hood, the river is carrying snow and glacier melt, that is why the water is always cold even at the peak of the summer season.

The Sandy River is well known for its sandy beaches, cool and clean water. This river is a resource of all refreshing water activities such as swimming, tubing, boating, paddle boarding, fishing, and sunbathing. Recreation sites and parks along the river provide opportunities for visitors to relax, enjoy the beauty of wild nature or practice different types of outdoor activities.



Lewis and Clark State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park is one of the best and popular places to enjoy the beauty of the Sandy River. On a perfect hot day, you will meet plenty of people swimming in the river. The park provides shades for those who wish to take a break. The beach here is adjacent to the point where the stream breaks into the Columbia River. The banks are rich with white sand and the water is crystal clear.

Flat trails traverse 54-acre of the beautiful state park, leading to swimming spot and public boat launch, as well as around the park.

Lewis and Clark State Park is popular among rock climbers for its bluff. Broughton Bluff is a geologic boundary between the foothills of the Cascades and Willamette Valley.

The park provides public amenities such as restrooms, and picnic tables. The river is monitored monthly for any contamination.

Directions:

  • From I-5, take exit 301 and drive 15 miles east on I-84
  • Take exit 18 toward Oxbow/Lewis and Clark Parks
  • Turn left onto Jordan Road/Crown Point Highway and continue 0.2 miles to the destination on the left.

Sandy River swimming

Open: Day-use only
Service: Restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramp
Managed: Oregon State Park
Day-use fees: None
Dogs: Must be on a leash. There is an un-fenced off-leash area.
GPS: 45.5348,-122.389



Glenn Otto Community Park

Glenn Otto Community Park presents among the finest open beaches and swimming prospects along the Sandy River within the City of Troutdale’s park system. Near the parking area, there is a more manicured section comprising picnic shelters, nicely irrigated lawns, playgrounds, potable water, and a picnic pavilion.

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Directions (3 minutes)

  • From Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site, travel 0.2 miles southeast on Jordan Road/Crown Point Highway
  • Turn right onto Historic Columbia River Highway, cross the bridge and in 0.3 miles turn left onto SE Jackson Park Rd
  • Continue 0.2 miles onto SE Jackson Park Road, then turn left and again left.

Open: Day-use only
Service: Restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramp
Managed: The City of Troutdale
Day-use fees: None
Dogs: Not allowed
GPS: 45.537, -122.378



Dabney State Recreation Area

Extremely popular destination in the summer months, Dabney State Recreation Area is situated on the Sandy River bend, 6.1 miles before it enters into the Columbia River. The Dabney offers plenty of space for families to relax and camp. The Sandy River here is cool and pleasant, with the 100-foot sandy beach. This part of the river has an easily accessible island.

There are picnic areas with grills, one of them shaded. You also can reserve a picnic shelter with electricity up to 50 guests. If relaxing and swimming do not impress you, try golfing at Dabney Disc Golf Course. This golf course has proved to be one of the best in Oregon.

Directions (5 minutes)

  • From Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site, travel 0.2 miles southeast on Jordan Road/Crown Point Highway
  • Continue 2.9 miles on Historic Columbia River Highway to the destination on the right.

Sandy River - Dabney State Recreation Area

Open: Day-use only
Service: Restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramp
Managed: Oregon State Park
Day-use fees: Yes
Passes:
12-month day-use parking permit for State Parks
24-month day-use parking permit for State Parks.
Dogs: Not allowed
GPS: 45.516, -122.3546

Oxbow Regional Park

Over 1000-acre Oxbow Regional Park offers access to a natural wild area that stretches along the double bend of the scenic Sandy River just 24 miles from the Portland downtown. This park gives you the best chance to enjoy a beautiful sandy beach, green clear and cool water. Because the current here is slower and there are areas of shallow water, Oxbow Park is popular among families with small children.

Other activities to do: river floating in tubes, kayaking, boating, swimming, sunbathing, and angling. There are also spots where you can watch salmon and steelhead spawn.

Oxbow Park provides you with up to 15 miles of flat hiking trails that run along the river beach and through old-growth forest. You get to see the cliffs drop and the river makes curves as it winds downward. You can watch wildlife along the river when animals like mink, beaver, fox, deer, black bears come to drink and anadromous fish migrates from the ocean to spawn.



Directions (13 minutes)

  • From Dabney State Recreation Area, go 0.5 miles west on Historic Columbia River Highway
  • Turn left onto SE Stark Road and travel 0.6 miles to SE Kerslake Road
  • Turn left onto SE Kerslake Road/SE 302 Avenue and continue 1.8 miles to SE Division Drive
  • Turn left onto SE Division Drive and in 0.2 miles turn right onto SE Oxbow Drive
  • Turn right onto SE Oxbow Drive and travel 2.2 miles to SE Hosner Rd/SE Oxbow Pkwy
  • Turn left onto SE Hosner Rd/SE Oxbow Pkwy and continue 1.4 miles to SE Oxbow Park Rd
  • Turn right onto SE Oxbow Park Rd, go 0.3 miles to the destination.

Sandy River Swimming - Oxbow Park

Open: Day-use only
Service: Restrooms, potable water, picnic areas, boat ramp
Managed: Portland Metro Regional Park
Day-use fees: Yes or annual pass
Dogs: Not allowed
GPS: 45.502, -122.3016

Dodge Park

Located 27 miles east of Portland, at the confluence of the Bull Run River and Sandy River, the Dodge Park is known as a great spot for outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking, and camping. Excellent swimming holes can be found along both rivers. There is a closed to public watershed maintenance facility just near the park. Under certain conditions, Dodge Park is allowed to leave a shuttle vehicle overnight near the boat ramp. Check the website The City of Portland to find out more.

The Park is open throughout the year for this purpose. The park provides amenities such as restrooms, children playground, boats, and a community hall.

Directions (13 minutes)

  • From Oxbow Regional Park, go 2.1 miles west on SE Oxbow Park Road/SE Hosner Road to SE Lusted Road
  • Turn left onto SE Lusted Road and continue 4.5 miles to the destination on the left.



Sandy River & Bull Run Swimming - Dodge Park

Open: Day-use only
Service: Restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramp
Managed: The city of Portland
Day-use fees: None
GPS: 45.444,-122.253






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