Join Us for the 11th Annual Big Paddle!

June 4th,  2022  |  Ridgefield Waterfront

​The Ridgefield Big Paddle commemorates the designation of the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Water Trail each year on National Trails Day. 

2022 Event

We are excited to invite you to the Lake River waterfront for Big Paddle on Saturday, June 4th, 2022! 

As an added bonus, this year is the 30th Anniversary of National Trails Day!

The first 200 registrations for the Big Paddle or the Open Paddle will receive Big Paddle swag bags!

Interested in VOLUNTEERING at Big Paddle? Click here to view the opportunities available!

Guided Hikes & Paddles

9:30am – The BIG Paddle

Be part of the BIG PADDLE on Lake River Saturday morning! Join a flotilla of kayaks, paddle boards and canoes on a five mile roundtrip paddle along Lake River to the Columbia and back to the Port of Ridgefield waterfront. $5 BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) registration covers your entry to the guided paddle. There are limited seats available on two canoes led by Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership for $5. Use the link below to reserve a seat.

Click here to Register on Eventbrite 
Day of Registration may be completed at the Registration booth – card payments only. Please arrive with plenty of time to complete registration.

Registration does NOT include a rental. Kayak, canoe or paddle board rentals must be arranged ahead of time on an individual basis. Alder Creek Kayak Ridgefield Location is conveniently located on Lake River. Click here to view their rental options for the day of Big Paddle.

On the water at 9am, Paddle begins at 9:30am.

All BIG paddle participants will receive one beverage token upon completing the BIG Paddle to help jump start the Paddler’s Celebration on the waterfront!

10am – Guided Refuge Hike with the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

To celebrate National Trails Day, head on a group hike led by the Friends of the Refuge from the Port of Ridgefield through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Group hikes will take place at 10am and 1pm, no registration necessary. The Refuge will be fee free during Big Paddle.

11:30am Guided Paddle with Alder Creek Kayak

From 11:30-1pm, paddle participants will experience the sights and sounds of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, visit historical sites like where Lewis & Clark landed, and enjoy a fun GUIDED PADDLE.

The guided paddle is $25 and includes kayak, paddles, and a life jacket. Reservations must be made through Alder Creek Kayak: Click here to sign up

1pm – Guided Refuge Hike

To celebrate National Trails Day, head on a group hike led by the Friends of the Refuge from the Port of Ridgefield through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Group hikes will take place at 10am and 1pm, no registration necessary. The Refuge will be fee free during Big Paddle.

1:30pm Open Paddle

Join us for the OPEN PADDLE starting at 1:30pm. There will be naturalists and guides on this 2.5 mile paddle along Lake River. $5 BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat) registration covers your entry to the guided paddle.

Click here to Register on Eventbrite
Day of Registration may be completed at the Registration booth – card payments only. Please arrive with plenty of time to complete registration.

Registration does NOT include a rental. Kayak, canoe or paddle board rentals must be arranged ahead of time on an individual basis. Alder Creek Kayak Ridgefield Location is conveniently located on Lake River. Click here to view their rental options for the day of Big Paddle.

Waterfront Activities

8:30am – Live Music: Traveling Day Society 

Start the day off listening to Traveling Day Society drum circle as you get ready for your paddling adventure.

9am – Opening Ceremony

Awaken the Ridgefield Dragon Boats and kick off the 10th Anniversary of Big Paddle at 9am! 

9am-11:30am – Live Music: Chicamarimba

Enjoy the sounds of Chicamarimba on the banks of Lake River while you paddle or while you hang out on land!

11am Paddler’s Celebration

To commemorate the end of the BIG Paddle gather and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Big Paddle on the waterfront with music, food, beer garden and FUN!

When you leave the water you will be given:

  • Drink token for the Beer Garden, run by Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and serving beer from Ridgefield Craft Brewing.
  • Raffle ticket – for a prize raffle drawn every 5 minutes from 11:30am-12:30pm. There will be 20 winners!

11am-2pm Kayak Check

Don’t want to worry about transporting your kayak or paddleboard to your vehicle between paddling and enjoying the waterfront activities? No problem! For the first time we are offering a free “Kayak Check.” Drop off your kayak in our dedicated Kayak Check area (open from 11am-2pm) and we will watch over your boat while you enjoy the beer garden, beach games, music, and food. When you are ready to head out, drive your car up to the convenient drive up station to load and leave with your boat.

11am-3pm Beer Garden and Food Trucks

Beer Garden with Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce

Cans of craft beer from Ridgefield Craft Brewing available for purchase for attendees over 21. All registered paddlers will also receive a free beverage token.

Available beverages: 

  • STR8 UP LAGER
  • NORSE CODE (Hazy IPA)

Food Trucks

Collection of food trucks – stay tuned for announcements about which ones!

Confirmed Food Trucks:

Information

Laurie Wilhite, author of Paddle to the Pacific; a Journey of Reflection on the Columbia River, will have a book booth and a kayak safety demo at the Paddler Celebration from 9am to 1:30pm.

10am-2pm Beach Games & Kids Crafts – Sponsored by IQ Credit Union

Hang out and play beach volleyball, cornhole, and other games on the waterfront! Complete fun kids crafts.

12:30pm Yoga with MKElevate

Participate in a FREE Yoga class with local Ridgefield fitness coaches MKelevate! MKelevate offers live online and on-demand fitness classes including Sole Bootcamp, Spin/strength, Cardio, and Yoga classes.

Travel between the Waterfront and Downtown on the Port of Ridgefield FREE Passenger Trolley!
Running from 10am-2pm

Downtown Activities

First Saturday and Ridgefield Farmers Market Vendors @ Overlook Park, 9am-2pm

Shop for vegetables, handmade goods and more from local vendors at Overlook Park at the intersection of Pioneer Street and Main Avenue from 9am to 2pm.

Some vendors include: 

3 AMIGOS + 1, Ali Garbarino Knife Sharpener, American Legion Ridgefield Post 44, BioLife Plasma Services, Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, Color Street, Columbia Play Project, Crafty Things, E Handcrafted PDX, Essential Oil Joy / doTERRA, Event Full Journals/Sheila Pearce, First Command Financial, Inspirational Imagery, LuLaRoe Christina Lee, Mad One Airbrushing and Pinstriping, Mountain Nut & Fruit Co, Nel Bel Boutique, Northwest Health and Safety Network, NW Nut, Optavia, Phillys, Pink Owl Boutique, Raindrop Giftshop, RealLife Company Cotton Candy, Ridgefield Candle Company, Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, Seterra Designs, Sheila Panteleeff Bird Baths, SherriFaheyCrocheted, Sugar kissed whisk, US Army, Villages Clark County, VW Creations, ZOMA Tonics, Zyia Active.

Used Book Sale – Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library @ Ridgefield Community Library 10am-3pm

Shop for used books and support the local library at the Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library used book sale. Paperbacks $1, Hardbacks $2, DVD’s $1, Children’s Books $1, Over-sized books $3-$5.

Paddle to the Pacific Author Presentation @ Ridgefield Community Library 2pm-3pm

Laurie Wilhite, author of Paddle to the Pacific; A Journey of Reflection on the Columbia River, will be speaking at the Ridgefield Community Library about her kayak journey down the Columbia River. The talk will be a family-friendly photo rich experience of views of the Columbia from her kayak and live acoustic guitar music. Books will be available for $26 cash. Learn more about the book and the author at https://paddletothepacific.weebly.com/.

Are you a business or organization planning something on this day? Let us know so we can share the details on this page! Send an email to Events@ridgefieldwa.us with all the details. 

Interested in VOLUNTEERING at Big Paddle? Click here to view the opportunities available!

General Information

About the Big Paddle

The Ridgefield Big Paddle began in 2012 to celebrate the efforts of many to create this water trail resource.

The first Big Paddle was June 2nd, 2012. Big Paddle is traditionally held on the first Saturday in June as part of National Trails Day.

The flotilla travels 2.5 miles North on Lake River, past the wildlife refuge, to the Columbia River and back to the Port of Ridgefield launch for a 5 mile round trip. This year, we are challenging you to complete a 5 mile round trip somewhere new along the Water Trail.

About the Water Trail

The Water Trail was established in 2012 and was the impetus for the first Ridgefield Big Paddle. The unique feature of a water trail is you can float along the trail, and you will not have changed that trail. It’s a sustainable form of use.

The 32 river miles in this water trail include:

  • Vancouver Lake (more than 5 miles to circumnavigate), the full extent of Lake River (11.5 miles)
  • Columbia River along the west side of Bachelor Island (4 miles)
  • Bachelor Island Slough and the confluences of the Lewis and Lake Rivers (2.6 miles)
  • Upriver on the East Fork of the Lewis River to La Center (3.25 miles)
  • Upriver on the North Fork of the Lewis River to Woodland (6.5 miles)

​Indigenous History

There is rich history all along the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Water Trail. Since time immemorial Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River have called the land along the Columbia River home. The village of Cathlapotle, located on what is now the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, was one of the largest on the river. The village was excavated in 1990s, and a replica Plankhouse built on the Refuge as an education and interpretive center.  Learn more about the archaeological site. Learn more about the Plankhouse.

Education

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership LogoLower Columbia Estuary Partnership

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership joins us at Big Paddle running the Big Canoe tours and bringing some great science and nature learning opportunities in the Paddlers Village. You can learn from the Estuary Partnership at anytime! Their website has a collection of activity videos to learn about science and nature in and around your home. Click here to check it out!


What Steps Can YOU Take to Protect Water

There is so much you can do to help protect our streams, rivers, and lakes!

  • Wash your car on the grass or visit an eco-friendly car wash
  • Pick up pet waste and be sure to know how to properly dispose of human waste outdoors
  • Reduce or eliminate lawn and garden fertilizer and pesticides
  • Pick up litter (especially along streams and rivers!)
  • Follow organizations like the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and Watershed Alliance of SW Washington to learn more and keep up on future volunteer opportunities.

Wildlife Viewing

There are numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing along the Lewis River to Vancouver Lake Trail. The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is situated along Lake River at the Confluence with the Columbia and boasts. Learn more about the Habitat and Wildlife on the Refuge here.

This video, from Alder Creek Kayak, gives a little taste of the wildlife you may see while paddling along the water trail.

Paddling Safety

Plan ahead and be prepared to safely enjoy your paddling experience.

  • Prepare a float plan. Inform others of your trip and expected return time. 
  • Always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device. 
  • Do not paddle alone.
  • Learn about your route in advance, especially potential hazards and emergency access. 
  • Know the weather forecast. If you experience sudden temperature drops, increasing and volatile winds or darkening clouds, get off the water. 
  • Carry food and water adequate for your trip length. 
  • Maintain distance between your boat and objects in the water, including motor boats, which may cause waves that could capsize a canoe or kayak.
  • Position your boat perpendicular to an approaching wake. 
  • Never float or paddle over a fallen tree or other obstruction.
  • Learn how to self-rescue in the event of capsize.

Paddling Etiquette

Appropriate, low-impact use of the water trail is the responsibility of all who use this natural resource and will ensure the waterways stay beautiful and healthy. Keep the following in mind while you travel:

  • Leave No Trace – Do not alter your surroundings. Leave natural objects as you found them. 
  • Quietly view wildlife. Give a wide berth to any birds or animals you encounter.
  • Respect Private Property – The river is open for recreation but lands along the shore may be private or restricted wildlife refuge lands. Respect private property and posted lands and do not trespass.

Learning to Paddle

Haven’t made your way into the world of paddling yet? Or maybe you want to brush up on your skills? Check out the below videos for some quick tips, or visit Paddling.com for even more expert advice!

Find More Instructional Videos on Paddling.com