If you want to go boating in the Pacific Northwest, you might want to know how far you can boat up the Columbia River.
From the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River runs along the border of Washington and Oregon, then extends north through British Columbia, Canada. It can be fun and relaxing to boat in many places along the river.
You can boat up the Columbia River until you reach Columbia Lake in British Columbia, Canada. If you want to boat to the northernmost point on the river, you would boat to Kinbasket Lake near Revelstoke, British Columbia.
If you started your boating trip from the Pacific Ocean, you’d have to boat over 1,200 miles to make it to the source of the Columbia River. Since you’d be traveling upstream, you would likely face more complications than going downstream.
You won’t need to take a boat all the way up the Columbia River if you want to spend time boating around there. We’d recommend taking a car with your boat in tow and launching it at the point you want to go boating.
Why Should I Boat Up The Columbia River?
The Columbia River is a long and scenic river in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
That part of the country, which includes the states of Oregon and Washington, have some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world.
It’s not uncommon for people that live or visit either of these two states to be fond of nature and outdoors activities.
Boating up the Columbia River can be an excellent way to observe landmarks, wildlife, forestry, and other natural wonders in the United States and Canada.
Unlike larger bodies of water such as lakes and oceans, you’ll often be closer to land on the Columbia River and can see changing landscapes in a quick and efficient fashion.
You won’t have to fuss around with maps and planning as much since you will simply stick to the path of the river.
Approaching the source of the Columbia River can be exhilarating when you think about the size of the river that extends from that point all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.
Since the Columbia River is so long and is near many cities, parks, and attractions, you will likely find something close to the river that will be interesting to you and your boat passengers.
Though there are city attractions like museums, restaurants, and shopping centers close to southern segments of the Columbia River, there are more natural attractions to be found as you boat upstream.
If you want to go boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, or something else outdoors in Canada, heading to the British Columbia portion of the Columbia River can be a great option for you.
If you want to boat to the northmost point of the Columbia River, you’ll be near good fishing spots with a variety of fish.
As the Columbia River heads north to its highest point and back down towards Columbia Lake, the river flows through Kinbasket Lake, which can be a better place to boat than more narrow areas of the river.
Kinbasket Lake offers breathtaking skyline and mountain views that are wonderful for photography or just relaxing and appreciating the natural world.
I like to bring along binoculars for birdwatching and checking out all the lovely animals that live in the wild.
If you’d rather head to the source of the Columbia River, you’ll be able to do even more in and around Columbia Lake.
There are many boating-related activities to partake in at Columbia Lake and the surrounding areas.
We can operate motor-powered boats or get some physical activity in with our canoes and kayaks.
There are several parks with areas that allow for hiking, biking, swimming, and water sports.
You can basically participate in many of the activities you can do at a beach along the ocean.
I personally like being surrounded by nature compared to being at beaches with shops, restaurants, and other city structures.
Columbia Lake generally has fewer visitors than many beaches I’ve visited, but it is still busy enough for me to not feel isolated.
There are several recreational sites we can stop by to get new views of wildlife and find other activities to do.
Even if we don’t want to do anything, we can choose from an assortment of spots to just sit back and relax.
I think Columbia Lake strikes a good balance between being immersed in nature while still having features to make us feel safe and comfortable.
How Do I Get To The Farthest Points Of The Columbia River?
The Columbia River is an extremely long river that would take you a long time to traverse.
You will encounter spots that can be tough to pass through due to man-made restrictions such as river locks and dams, or natural restrictions from weather and river conditions.
You should be able to boat long distances of the Columbia River without any issue.
For those traveling from the United States to Canada, you should have all the necessary documentation needed to pass through customs.
If you want to visit the northmost point of the river, it will probably be better to drive a car with your boat in tow rather than boat upstream.
To make things simple, you can set Kinbasket Lake as your destination since the Columbia River passes through it at its northern point in British Columbia, Canada.
You should easily be able to easily find launch areas for your boat in Kinbasket Lake.
To make it easier to navigate smaller areas of the Columbia River, I’d recommend taking a small vessel like a kayak on the river so you have more mobility in tighter spaces.
It’ll also make your boating adventure less dangerous in areas where there are obstructions under the water.
If you see obstructions like rocks, trees, and debris approaching in the river, being in a kayak or similar boat can help you to stop, move, or get out of the water more easily.
Being in a standard motor-powered boat in tight spots along the river can result in you getting stuck, which obviously won’t be much fun.
If you want to head to the farthest point on the Columbia River opposite the Pacific Ocean, you will need to travel to Columbia Lake between Fairmont Hot Springs and Canal Flats in Canada.
You can probably boat a great deal of the way along the Columbia River to Columbia Lake, but I would recommend towing your boat there via a car or truck to make things less of a hassle.
There are more unknowns you can encounter on the river that can put you and your boat passengers in danger.
I know there are dangers to traveling by any method, but I think it’s more unpredictable to travel by boat compared to driving a car.
You’ll also need to have more awareness of obstructions and a solid understanding of the river conditions when boating through the Columbia River.
Once you arrive at Columbia Lake, you’ll be able to park and find a place to picnic, launch your boat, go hiking, or do other activities in a relatively well-defined location.
There are many spots to explore in and around Columbia Lake, so you might want to start looking at spots near the end of Columbia Lake and make your way toward the Columbia River to see what each spot has to offer.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson