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Wenatchee River2021-07-13T08:45:18-07:00

Wenatchee River: Intermediate Whitewater in Central Washington

The Wenatchee River flows roughly 50 miles before joining the Columbia River in Central Washington. This scenic stretch of whitewater comes alive in the springtime and has a wide range of runnable flows through midsummer before the flows begin to drop. There are numerous Class II rapids, and a few Class III to keep you on your toes. This is a great single-day trip for rafters of all skill levels, with great highway access throughout the entire run.

About This Guide

This guide covers the major features of the Wenatchee River. We cover the stretch from the Put-In in Leavenworth to the Take-out in Cashmere.

Safety

The Wenatchee is an intermediate run. You should have some experience with whitewater if you plan to raft it. Wet suits or dry suits are recommended in the springtime.

Permits

A permit is not required to run the Wenatchee.

The Wenatchee is runnable from 2,000 CFS – 20,000 CFS.
Low Flow: 2,500 – 5,000 CFS
Medium Flow: 5,000 – 12,000 CFS
High Flow: >12,000 CFS

Link to USGS gauge.

Wenatchee River Flow
Gauge data provided by USGS

We do not have a preferred partner (yet) for the Wenatchee. If you are a commercial outfitter with an excellent reputation we would love to hear from you.

Click here to send us a message.

Wenatchee River Map & Guide

WARNING: Conditions change frequently and may make this guide useless. This guide is NOT a replacement for sound judgment. Go with someone with recent Wenatchee experience.

Point of Interest

Bridges, private property, etc.

Raft Surf Wave

Indicates well known surf waves.

Put-In / Take-Out

The most commonly used access points.

Class II Rapid

Class II rapid or river feature.

Class III Rapid

Class III rapid or river feature.

Wenatchee River – Class II & III

The raftable section of the Wenatchee River runs from Leavenworth, WA to Cashmere, WA before joining the Columbia River.

Length

Leavenworth Public Boat  Launch Put-In to Riverside Park is 14.64 miles.

Difficulty

Moderate

Average Gradient

The Wenatchee River drops ~23 feet per mile.

Shuttle Time

Leavenworth Public Boat Launch to Cashmere Riverside Park is 35 minutes round trip. Google Map directions.

Mile 0 – Leavenworth Public Boat Launch: River Right. The Leavenworth Public Boat Launch is a public access point with a small but easy boat launch. Good amount of parking. No Amenities

Mile 0.62 – Wenatchee River Bridge #1: Quickly after put-in you will pass underneath the bridge. Highway 2 is just over your head here.

Mile 0.95 – Boulder Bend Rapid: Class II. Hang on the inside of this right bend in the river for a fun read-and-run rapid. At higher flows, large holes start appearing on the left-hand side.

Mile 3.29 – Happy Wave: River Right. Close to the right bank is a fun wave that can be surfed mostly by kayaks.

Mile 4.63 – Wenatchee River Bridge #2: At the town of Peshastin, you will encounter a small bridge.

Mile 5.35 – Peshastin Put-In: River Left. At lower flows (below 8,000 cfs), many people will choose to put-in to avoid roughly 4 miles of flatwater.

Mile 6.17 – Rock and Roll RApid: Class III. The Wenatchee splits into 2 channels around a large island. Most boaters will choose to go right of this island. Watch out for a large hole right-of-center known as Satan’s Eyeball.

Mile 6.78 – Peshastin Creek Confluence: River Right. The Peshastin Creek enters the Wenatchee River from the right-hand side. This is the only confluence on the Wenatchee. Just downstream lies Dryden Dam, a mandatory portage, start moving left once you hit this creek.

Mile 6.92 – Dryden Dam Portage: Class VI. Mandatory portage over a low-head dam. Most boaters will portage on the right-hand side of this feature. We do not recommend running this rapid, as it has caused several avoidable fatalities throughout the years.  However, there is a line that we only recommend if you are with a group that knows this feature extremely well.

Mile 7.63 – Wenatchee River Bridge 3: The third bridge passes over the Wenatchee River just above Upper Dryden Public Access

Mile 7.72 – Upper Dryden Public Access: River Left. Small, cobbled beach on the left-hand side of the river just below Wenatchee River Bridge 3. There’s a small riffle just below this beach.

Mile 7.8 – Upper Dryden Riffle: Class II. Read-and-run riffle just around the bend from the third river bridge.

Mile 8.21 – Wenatchee River Bridge #4: You’ll pass 3 bridges in a quick succession as you pass through Dryden. The last bridge is an old railroad bridge.

Mile 8.36 – Wenatchee River Bridge #5: The fifth bridge you’ll encounter connects Upper and Lower Dryden via Main Street. Just downstream lies a railroad bridge.

Mile 8.37 – Wenatchee Railroad Bridge #1: This is the first railroad crossing of this stretch of the Wenatchee river. In a mile or so, this track crosses back over the river

Mile 9.65 – Gorilla: Class II. Fun wave train on right of center as you approach the railroad bridge.

Mile 9.78 – Wenatchee Railroad Bridge #2: Remember that railroad from a mile or so ago? Here it is again.

Mile 9.88 – Wenatchee River Bridge #6: Highway 2/97 crosses back over the Wenatchee River one final time.

Mile 10.83 – Rodeo Hole: Just beneath a large granite face on the right-hand side is a very fun wave that can be hit at almost all flows

Mile 10.98 – Fox Miller Public Access: River Right. Seldom used river access point on the right-hand side of the river.

Mile 10.99 – Wenatchee Railroad Bridge #3: Just below Fox Miller Public lies a railroad bridge, and the last time you’ll encounter any railroads.

Mile 11.49 – Drunkard’s Drop: Class III. This is a short but very fun wave. Stay on river left as you approach the bank and line up for the waves on the very left or left of center, and keep your momentum.

Mile 13.32 – Goodwin Road Bridge: This the second last bridge before take-out.

Mile 13.75 – Snowblind Rapid: Class III. There are options to Snowblind on river right, center, or left. At flows above 15k, the waves become very big, and holes become even bigger. At flows below 10k, the most worrisome holes are in the center. You can punch them all if you have a large boat and momentum at moderate and low flows. Click here for a detailed description.

Mile 14.2 – Granny’s: Class III. This rapid forms a fun wave train at the center and center-right at every level. You can surf them if you have the skills, otherwise, look ahead, line up well and get your momentum going. Most people choose to enter from right and move to center to hop on the last big wave called Suffocator.

Mile 14.44 – Take-out Bridge: The final bridge you will see lies just above the Cashmere Riverside Park Take-out.

Mile 14.64 – Cashmere Riverside Park Take-out: River Left. It is a tight turn to the boat ramp. If you have never run this, make sure to scout the take-out when you are setting shuttle. If you miss take-out, your next option is in Monitor, 4 miles downstream.

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