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your paddlesports destination

Willapa River in Washington

Trip Overview

The Willapa River empties into Willapa Bay which itself is quite a large body of water.

Heading downriver from South Bend, WA is fun because there are a few sloughs which are fun to explore if the tide is coming in and there is enough water. A couple of hours before high water is great; you will be greeted by local seals and if you are lucky you will come face to face with a bald eagle or two. You may travel farther downriver and venture up Smith Creek or North River.

The Pacific County Historical Museum, located in South Bend, has some great maps of the Willapa and surrounding areas for kayakers. The man I talked to there, whose name is Bruce, had quite a bit of general information about the area as far as kayaking goes.

Paddling upriver from South Bend is the city of Raymond which is about a leisurely 2 hour paddle with the tide. There is a boat launch at the 8th Street Park at the north end of town. There is no fee to use the facility.

Continuing on from Raymond, the Willapa River heads upstream for many more miles and countless hours of leisure paddling. Even if the tides are against you, it's still a pretty effortless paddle from Raymond on upstream.


There are no facilities or accommodations along the route.


Both the boat launch and city dock are free.


South Bend is located on Highway 101 about 1 1/2 hours from Olympia, WA. Take the ocean beaches cutoff.


The South Bend Boat Launch is just at the south end of town and provides a dock and a ramp. At extreme low water the dock is high and dry so the ramp would be the only choice of entry. The city dock which is in the middle of town provices access during all conditions.


The South Bend Historical Museum has some maps of the area.
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip