On the Elk Rock Paddle Tour you’ll have fun exploring part of The Willamette River Water Trail close to downtown Portland by kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board on this guided tour!  We meet at our instuction center at Tryon Cove in Lake Oswego.  After some basic safety breifings and a few pointers on technique we launch from the beach and head up to Elk Rock Island just about a mile down river.  We will paddle as a group learning about the area and picking up a few new skills along the way.




The island represents part of an ancient volcano that erupted about 40 million years ago. The large, jagged rocks (Waverly Heights basalt) found throughout the island were formed by lava flows, and may be the oldest exposed rock in the Portland area. The island contains seven distinct habitats, including wetlands, forests, and grasslands. Across the river, there are high cliffs which are Elk Rock proper. A Native American legend holds that this was a good spot to stampede a herd of elk over the cliff. The island gets its name from being near Elk Rock.

Elk Rock Island was part of the original donation land claim of Milwaukie pioneer Lot Whitcomb and was known as Lot Whitcomb Island during the 1860s. It went through six owners before Scottish grain exporter and Portland businessman Peter Kerr (1862-1957) acquired the property in 1910 from the Rock Island Club, which operated a dance hall on the island. He gave the island to the City of Portland in 1940 with the requirement that it be preserved in its natural state. As Kerr put it, “Preserve it as a pretty place for all to enjoy.” On October 29, 1954, the Kerr formally dedicated Peter Kerr Park with a bronze plaque.


  • Journey the 2 nautical miles up and back from Elk Island
  • Introduction to basic equipment
  • Launching and landing from a beach
  • Learn skills for maneuvering the boat
  • Enjoy scenic views of the area
  • Have fun in the water doing something active


Meeting Place/Directions:
Basic Skills Kayak Classes meet at our Lake Oswego Location at Tryon Creek
Please arrive 10 minutes early to fill out paper work.

14110 Stamphor Rd, Lake Oswego, OR, United States

If you have any questions about what to bring please contact us.

Call for more information

Portland: 503.285.0464


Customers have the option to use their own gear with approval.  (Boats need to have secure buoyancy in the stern and immersion wear must be worn most of the year).

If you are un-able to bring the items listed below please let us know as we can provide them if needed.  Only in the hottest summer months do we run courses without some form of immersion wear.  The water is cold year round.

– Sunglasses with retention device (i.e. Croakies, Chums, etc)

– NO COTTON Synthetic top and bottom (thermal underwear, heavier wt. for cooler weather)

– Nylon shorts and/or swimsuit for warmer days

-Hiking style wool or synthetic socks

– Water bottle and small snack (like a power bar…)

– Towel and change of clothes for ride home

Optional Gear:




-River shoes or booties


-PFD’s, Life Jacket
-Our great guides!


-We do not provide food or drink


The Pacific Northwest is a dynamic and often unpredictable environment. All activities are run/fun rain or shine. All programs are conditions dependent and may change at any time at our discretion. In order to keep our programs affordable a minimum number of participants may be required. If we are unable to fill a program to a minimum requirement level we reserve the right to cancel the program. A full refund will be provided in the event of a cancelled or re-scheduled activity upon request. Please allow 48 hour notice for any cancellations or changes in your reservation. Give us a call at 503-285-0464. Cancellations within 48 hours of the program are NOT refundable.  To re-schedule a class you have cancelled within the restricted 48 hour period we will gladly credit you 50% towards the rescheduled class.  Thank you for signing up!  Please let us know if you have questions about this or any other policy here at Alder Creek.



Elk Rock Island is a fantastic property that was donated to the City of Portland by the Kerr family. A small embayment makes for a good canoe or kayak stop, and a path circles the edge of the property. The island contains seven distinct habitats, including wetlands, forests, and grasslands. At high water the island is truly an island, but during most of the year it is a peninsula accessible by land from adjacent Dogwood Park. Willamette Riverkeeper and others have worked with the City of Portland during the past few years to conduct restoration work on the island.