The best way to experience the beauty of a river is to get out on the water for yourself. In Albany, the Willamette River—the West Coast’s only National Water Trail—runs right through town. For canoeists, kayakers, rafters and paddle boarders, the Willamette River is an unforgettable experience. Canoeroots Magainze named it one of their “canoe trips of a lifetime.”
For a brief float or paddle trip, put in at Hyak Park 2.5 miles east of Albany on Highway 20, and let the current carry you to Bryant Park, Takena Landing, or Bowman Park in Albany. For longer trips, explore the itineraries on the Willamette Water Trail site. Or join Paddle Oregon for a epic multi-day journey all the way from the Eugene area to just south of Portland. Check out the Oregon Willamette River Guide (PDF) for more info.
The Santiam River is another popular river for rafting. From its headwaters in the Cascades, it splits into the North, Middle and South forks, all of which eventually empty into the Willamette. Check out North Santiam River Trips for guided whitewater rafting trips: http://nsrtrips.com/
No boat? Rent a canoe, kayak, raft or other gear from Peak Sports in Corvallis.