Sandy River Oregon Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Sandy River

From its Mt. Hood glacier headwaters, Oregon’s Sandy River flows through both national forest and urban landscapes on its way to meet the Columbia, providing many fishing and recreational opportunities.

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  • Located in northwestern Oregon, the Sandy River heads on Mt. Hood and empties into the Columbia near Troutdale.
  • The Sandy has a reputation for offering great sporting challenges for fly fishermen.
  • Camping, kayaking, and canoeing are also classic Sandy River entertainments


Remnants of some of the earth’s most powerful forces can be observed along the Sandy River in Oregon. Cutting through steep river canyons, the Sandy is witness to volcanic mudflows, glaciers, and the pouring precipitation that creates the Northwestern rainforest.

Here both wild and hatchery fish are plentiful almost year-round, including steelhead and salmon (both Chinook and Coho). The Sandy has earned a reputation as one of the Northwest’s most challenging fly-fishing arenas. Although portions of the Sandy flow through Portland’s back yard, the river remains pristine, providing both a critical fish habitat and a source of drinking water.

Location & Information

The 56-mile Sandy originates just below the Reid and Sandy Glaciers at about 6,000 feet up the slopes of Mt. Hood. The river flows west through the Mt. Hood Corridor, then veers north to join the Columbia near Troutdale (about 15 miles east of Portland).


  • Campgrounds line the Sandy River from its mouth to the foot of the glacial flows.
  • Fly fishing the Sandy—for steelhead, trout, and salmon—presents some of the most demanding challenges in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Kayaking and canoeing are popular along the Sandy.

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