Friends Landing Campground is located in Montesano, Washington, along the Chehalis River. The park has day use, RV and tent camping. The campground is spacious and surrounded by nature. Campers looking for adventure on the river water can utilize the private boat launch and take on some sea kayaking opportunities to see remnants of the amazing history and beauty of the lower Chehalis River.
Planning a Chehalis River Sea Kayaking Trip
Our crew of three adventurous sea kayakers picked this location for an exciting weekend of camping and exploring on the lower Chehalis River. In preparation for our kayak day trip, we considered the weather, winds and tide exchange. Friends landing is located within the influence of significant tidal exchanges, so this is an important factor to consider when planning your route and ultimate destination.
The lower stretch of river between Friends Landing and Aberdeen – approximately 8 miles – is sparsely populated. Both sides of the river are dominated by incised banks and mature dense forests with minimal areas for takeout. With this in mind, our crew made sure to bring all the pertinent safety gear one would need should someone swim or run into any other issues.
Our trip occurred on a beautiful sunny day. We started our trip heading downstream with a light headwind. We were paddling recreational kayaks that are stable yet not as efficient for speed as some longer and sleeker sea kayaks.
We enjoyed the quiet and serene beauty of the lower river. We were alone except for the flight of birds overhead. The water was unusually clear, and the mature Sitka Spruce forest on the banks shined in emerald green, casting dark shadows over the water.
As we made our way downriver, we navigated around deadheads and through remnant piling that held giant log booms during the logging heyday of the early century. As the hours passed, a marine layer from the west created wind churning the waters ahead of us. We decided this would be a cue for us to make our way back to Friends Landing.
Our adventure sea kayaking on the Chehalis River made for a great afternoon. In the evening, we sat by a campfire and devoured a variety of tasty pizzas from local Gappetos in Montesano – the cheeseburger pizza is off the charts! – and we reminisced about the day’s adventure.
If you plan to paddle the entire lower river, consider using a traditional sea kayak with a spray skirt and the ability to self-rescue is advised. Recreational lake kayaks work well if you plan to use them near the park.