North America
Oregon (USA)
Next Big City
Next Town
Scappoose, Linnton
Rider Ability:
Intermediate, Expert
Toilet, Parking


Flat, Chop
Best Tide:
Tide independent

Water is pretty flat since most of the time the wind is light. Swells don't get huge like in the Gorge. Water is also quite a bit warmer than the Gorge. However it is more polluted because it's after the Columbia meets the Willammete, which gets raw sewage dumped into it in Portland when it rains hard. The water is not very shallow and drops off fast. The water flows the opposite direction of the prevailing winds, similar to the Gorge. Small 1-foot wind chop and barge wakes are common, there is not swell/waves.


Trees, Concrete, Other
Beach Users:

The beach is very long and sandy, and between 100-200 feet in width. There is a burr that covers the length of the beach, it is pretty steep so watch your step. It can also cause some havoc with the wind, but you shouldn't be flying your kite above it anyway. This beach is one of the best in the Northwest for learning since it's so long you can go way downwind and still know there is plenty of beach left over. The beach is a nice long sandy beach. There is a 15-foot tall concrete levee that separates the beach from the access road. The levee is about 30m from the water so there is just enough space to launch and land a kite safely (self and assisted) in the prevailing sideshore winds. The beach is very long so access to the water is easy and plentiful. The most popular kite area is marked by a small ship wreck on the beach, park at the north end of the parking area away from other beach users which typically flock to the south. A great set up if the wind is very light and you need to walk back up the beach with your kite in the air to get upwind & good for kiters that can't stay upwind and get back to the place they launched. from. Look out for driftwood on the beach.


Shorts, Shorty

Most of the season you can wear shorts or a shorty. Only at the beginning of the season do you need a full wetsuit. Season is from May to September. Its usually pretty warm as the wind is thermal driven, so don't expect to be too cold. Air temperatures range from 65-90°F and the water temp ranges from 65-73°C, warming up as the summer progresses. Typically a full suit 5/3 to 3/2 is good for the early season, but most kiters are in shorties or shorts by July. It is possible to kitesurf off season but wind speed and direction are not consistent or as good.


Best Months:
May, June, July, August
Wind Type:
Best Direction:
Main Direction:

Very steady but light wind. 12-16m is the standard kite, a smaller or larger kite will only be needed 10% of the time. Usually if it's windy at all, a 12-16m will work, and it rarely gets above 20mph. The wind is very steady, only towards the end of the season it does get `gusty.` If anything it is more prone to lulls, which can be a good sign the wind is about to die. The wind usually starts from 2-5pm and dies before dusk. North winds are the only ones that seem to work. Prevailing winds are out of the North, NNE and NNW, and these are the best. In the summer the wind can typically be kiteable 4-7 days a week.

How to get there

Short walk

Sauvie Island is accessed by car only. From Portland international Airport follow signs to Highway 205 South, then take Hwy I-84 West to Portland. As you approach Portland I-84 will split, go north on highway I-5, then exit onto highway 405 over a big bridge (Willamette River). Follow signs and take Highway US-30 northwest to Linnton/Saint Helens. Now follow these directions: From Portland, follow Highway 30 (US-30) northwest towards Linnton, Scappoose, Saint Helens, and Astoria. About 10 miles from downtown Portland (a couple miles past Linnton) turn right onto the NW Sauvie Island Bridge over Multnomah Channel. This bridge is the only entrance to Sauvie Island. It's well marked. At the far end (bottom) of the bridge, you'll see the Cracker Barrel Store ahead on the left. Buy a one-day $3 or full-year $13 parking pass there. Parking passes are required in all Wildlife Area parking lots, including those near the beaches. The police do issue tickets. Drive under the bridge onto Gillihan Road. Follow Gillihan Road until it ends. Turn right onto NW Reeder Road. Follow NW Reeder Road until you see kites and a levee on the right covered with long grass and weeds. This is main part of the kite beach (Walton Beach) with parking area on the left and concrete steps on the right. Park on the left at the north end of the parking area, display your parking pass in driver side windshield, and follow steps up over the levee to the beach. (If the road becomes gravel you've passed the kite beach and are headed to the nude beach, which you could launch from if you wanted to do a downwinder).

Extra information


You will need a parking permit to park in the lot at the beach. You can buy this at the store you see getting off the bridge to the north, or the Reeders beach store. A year pass is $13, day pass $3.


No information