Willamette River Cruise Highlights

The Willamette is a historical river and is a tributary of the Columbia River. As an important route of transportation in the early days, it helped transport timber and other agricultural resources to the outside world. Its name is derived from an Indian village called the Clackamas. It mainly lies on the north-western part of Oregon in the United States. Along with its tributaries, a basin called the Willamette Valley was formed, responsible for adding two-thirds to Oregon's total population. Portland sits on both sides of the river near its mouth on the Columbia, therefore, dividing it into the east and west sides. The length of the Willamette River is 180 miles or 301 kilometers long. The depth varies from place to place but has been approximated to be 100 to 130 feet.

The Willamette River flows from the southeast of Eugene, a southern end of the valley, to Corvallis, then passes a zigzag course in Albany and around the isolated hills in the central valley in downtown Salem. From Salem, it goes through Newburg to reach Oregon City, and split around Sauvie Island, and exit at the north-northwest end of Portland, which is St. Helen's. Upon cruising through the river, one would be captivated by the sights and scenes of various places in Oregon which is considered as the most fertile region in North America. Be soothed with the kind of atmosphere along the river due to the effect of the prolific rainfalls that occasionally feed the lush valleys of Portland. Three promising destinations a cruise along the river include Sauvie Island, Salem, and Willamette Falls.

Sauvie Island

Originally called the Wapato Island, Sauvie is a small area but is considered to be the largest island along the Willamette River. The island is known for its farmlands and wildlife refuge. It has a flat topography and lengthy low-volume roads which makes it a favorite of cyclists. Other must-sees in the island include the Warrior Rock Lighthouse, The Lewis and Clark Expedition Lands, and the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.


Being the county seat of Marion County and the capital of Oregon, Salem is a significant place. It is situated in the Willamette Valley which is alongside the Willamette River, flowing through the city's north end. It is best known for its agriculture and for its production of cherries. Capitol buildings are also a sight in Salem. The most recognized of which is the Oregon State Capitol, which has a pioneer statue atop the dome that is plated in gold-leaf and is officially referred to as the Oregon Pioneer.

Willamette Falls

Willamette Falls is a natural waterfall on the Willamette River. Having a width of 1,500 feet and a length of 40 feet, it is the largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest. It promotes the magnificence and history of the river. The body of water is horseshoe in shape and has a canal and a set of locks that allow vessels to enter the Willamette Valley. On Willamette Falls, fish counting is a common activity. In fact, a fishway with video cameras was built just for it. It records fish passage 24 hours a day with the monthly counts never failing to amuse people.

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