White Salmon River rafting is one of the best ways to see the beautiful gorges and forests in this part of the Pacific Northwest. Located 90 minutes’ drive from the Portland area near the Columbia River Gorge, the river provides thrilling Class III and Class IV rapids. Serious rafters will certainly enjoy the numerous rapids at the White Salmon, one of the most scenic rivers for rafting in Washington.
Before planning to raft the White Salmon River, you should first pick the best place to start your trip. Beginners generally prefer to launch their raft from the Lower White Salmon, which is located between Husum Falls and Northwestern Lake. Intermediate to advanced rafters usually go for the Middle White Salmon section, which runs from BZ Corner to Husum Falls. Whatever your choice is, be sure to do your research in advance or take a guide with you if you’re at all unsure of the terrain. There are numerous outfitters in the region who run guided rafting trips along the White Salmon River.
Most beginners planning to go along the Lower White Salmon section launch their trips early in the day; this is mainly because the section between the Husum Falls and the Northwestern Lake takes up to five hours to travel, so if you are planning to camp overnight, it’s best to begin before lunchtime and have plenty of time to set up camp afterward. There are numerous camping areas in the region; the most famous ones include the Timberlake Campground and RV Park and Tucker County Park.
Although there is this easy section, the White Salmon waters mostly offer Class III rapids, so make sure you are comfortable with high waves and obstacles. The river cuts through forested gorges, so expect some clear but narrow passages, which require some maneuvering. There are also Class IV rapids to cross as well, with rough waters and plenty of tough navigation, which makes them perfect for advanced rafters looking for a challenge.
Image: laffertyryan (flickr)