White Salmon River Warner Road Bridge to Green Truss Bridge

White Salmon River, Oregon

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This run can be much more intense than the 60 fpm gradient indicates. It contains numerous class 3 and 4 rapids and some sharp ledge drops of 5 to 15 feet. Since the river is so narrow, a small change in flow creates big changes in difficulty. When flows exceed 1400 cfs, the run contains continuous whitewater and powerful hydraulics; below 1000 cfs, the run becomes enjoyable pool drop with large recovery pools. The run can be done year-round, but it is best during spring runoff. After 0.5 mile of warm-up, the river descends into a steep-walled canyon and drops 200 feet in the next 2 miles. It first drops over two 4-foot ledges and enters a narrow 100-yard-long chute with turbulent hydraulics. The second ledge, Sidewinder, can force kayakers uncomfortably close to an undercut ledge on river left at medium flows. A short pool occurs 0.9 mile later before dropping over—or through—Lava Dam. This 15-foot waterfall has a runnable tongue in the center, but be sure to get a good boof as the hydraulic at the bottom tends to stuff boaters behind the falls. Numerous stories are told of boats lost every year at Lava Dam. Character: forested canyon.
Soggy Sneakers: A Paddler's Guide to Oregon's Rivers

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Soggy Sneakers: A Paddler's Guide to Oregon's Rivers

by Pete Giordano & the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club (The Mountaineers Books)

This run can be much more intense than the 60 fpm gradient indicates. It contains numerous class 3 and 4 rapids and some sharp ledge drops of 5 to 15 feet. Since the river is so narrow, a small change in flow creates big changes in difficulty. When flows exceed 1400 cfs, the run contains continuous whitewater and powerful hydraulics; below 1000 cfs, the run becomes enjoyable pool drop with large recovery pools. The run can be done year-round, but it is best during spring runoff. After 0.5 mile of warm-up, the river descends into a steep-walled canyon and drops 200 feet in the next 2 miles. It first drops over two 4-foot ledges and enters a narrow 100-yard-long chute with turbulent hydraulics.

The second ledge, Sidewinder, can force kayakers uncomfortably close to an undercut ledge on river left at medium flows. A short pool occurs 0.9 mile later before dropping over—or through—Lava Dam. This 15-foot waterfall has a runnable tongue in the center, but be sure to get a good boof as the hydraulic at the bottom tends to stuff boaters behind the falls. Numerous stories are told of boats lost every year at Lava Dam. Character: forested canyon.

©  Pete Giordano & the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: White Salmon River
Distance: 5.1
Class: Class IV-V
Season: Best during snowmelt season; Flow: 800–1500 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to White Salmon River: Warner Road Bridge to Green Truss Bridge

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May 2018