The Sandy River’s Many Moods

In the hot summer months, the Sandy River makes its siren call, drawing people to its cool water in droves. As it is one of the few navigable rivers in Oregon, the Sandy is a prime destination for kayaking, rafting, tubing, swimming and nearly every other activity that involves buoyancy and water.

Of course, anyone who’s been to Tad’s in the Spring or Fall, knows that for a few months, the Sandy runs fast, high and cold. The combination of continued snow-melt and heavy rains can cause high water and seasonal flooding.

However, for these few precious months during the summer, it becomes a different river: cool and slow-moving. Sitting in Tad’s open-air dining room watching the river flow calmly by, it’s hard to imagine that this river has, as its source, the dramatic landscape of rocky canyons and rugged glaciers.

The Sandy gets its cool temperature from its headwaters: the Reid Glacier on the southwest face of Mt. Hood. From here it starts its 56-mile journey ( and 6000 foot drop in elevation) through two counties, fed by numberless streams and creeks to where it joins with the Columbia River in Troutdale very near to Tad’s. Because of the variability in rainfall and temperature, the character of the Sandy can change from month-to-month or even day-to-day. If you have ever wondered why the river can be a muddy green color in the summer, this is because the glacial run-off feeds silt into the river. In the Winter and Fall the river is usually clear (but icy cold.) In the spring, the Sandy can be very brown, a result of lowland runoff from heavy rain and warmer temperatures.

Luckily, you can witness all this change from the comfort of your window seat at Tad’s. Our year-round views of the Sandy River offer a unique Oregon experience: from our dining rooms our guests can appreciate the Sandy river in all of her seasonal moods.