Washington Whitewater Rafting
White Salmon River

Click here for a listing of guides and outfitters rafting the White Salmon River.

Federally protected as a Wild & Scenic River, the White Salmon River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Washington State. Located in South Central Washington, the White Salmon is just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon and within an hour and a half from Portland. The water in this river is provided by melting glaciers and underground springs, supplying the White Salmon with some of the cleanest water in the country. Lush greenery and trees complete this picturesque river.

Photo courtesy Blue Sky Outfitters

Only 10 rafting companies hold permits to run the White Salmon commercially. Most trips start out in BZ Corner, a little town whose recognition is for its access to the White Salmon River. Here the river flows through a 135 foot deep canyon. Rafts once had to be lowered by cable to river due to the steepness of the decent into the canyon. In 2001 the Forest Service replaced the cable system with a sliding rail system that makes access easier not only to rafts but to rafters, whom have to hike down into the canyon.

The excitement of the White Salmon begins right away as the BZ Corner put in is actually in the middle of Top Drop, a class 4 rapid! The river continues in a "pool and drop" pattern, with exciting rapids that drop down into calm pools, like Corkscrew and Waterspout. Stairsteps is a favorite, with a series of one to three-foot ledges like a set of long, wide stairs.

About two thirds into the trip is class 4+ Husum Falls, a 14 foot waterfall. On most trips, rafters get out here to stretch their legs, view the falls, and watch the boats as they're lined floated empty at the end of a long line of rope over the falls. Only a few outfitters are permitted to actually run the falls and for rafters on those trips, running the falls is an unforgettable thrill. From the bottom of the falls, the river finishes it journey to Northwestern Lake with class 2 and 3 rapids.

*The river description above courtesy of Blue Sky Outfitters.

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