White Salmon Comprehensive 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 White Salmon 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.
Class IV Rapid
Class IV rapid or river feature.
Class V Rapid
Class V rapid or river feature.
Middle White Salmon – Class II, III & IV
The “Middle” section, typically referred to as simply the White Salmon is the most popular section rafted on the White Salmon.
BZ Corner Put-In to Husum Falls is 4.5 miles.
Moderate to Advanced
The White Salmon Run drops 56 feet per mile.
Mile 0 – BZ Corner Put In: River Right. Put-in on River Right. The Maytag Hole is the large feature in the center of the river at this Put-In. For a little extra action, you can drag your boat upstream to run the Maytag rapid. If not, put in just below this hole.
Mile 0 – Maytag: Class III. River wide hole at the Put-In. Can be avoided by putting in below this feature.
Mile 0.02 – Top Drop: Class III. Large wave/hole on river left can be avoided by moving toward river right.
Mile 0.06 – BZ Corner Glenwood Bridge: Bridge just downstream of Top Drop Rapid.
Mile 0.36 – The Cave / Shark’s Tooth: Class III. A shallow bumpy rapid pushes you to the right, but work left to avoid an undercut cave on river right.
Mile 0.49 – Grasshopper: Class III. Shallow rapid, enter right of center for least bumpy ride. Watch out for pourover on bottom right of this rapid.
Mile 0.65 – Siwash: Class III. Siwash is a left-of-center entrance, and blast through the center wave if you want. There is a possible surf wave at the bottom left of this rapid.
Mile 0.76 – Corkscrew: Class III. Enter right at the top of Corkscrew, then enjoy.
Mile 0.97 – Waterspout: Class III. Narrow line between small hole on river right and a boil on river left.
Mile 2.73 – Stairstep: Class III. Series of holes, dropping you down in a “Stairstep” fashion. The final drop is the biggest of these holes. Enter and stay center to avoid holes on the right of this rapid.
Mile 3.07 – Bridge crossing: A small bridge crosses the river here.
Mile 4.47 – Husum Falls: Class IV. Husum Falls is a 10′ drop that goes at most flows, but becomes more retentive as flows increase. The most commonly run line is to enter center right (close to the fin rock). This rapid may cause carnage, but at most flows, it is forgiving. Learn more about Husum Falls.
Mile 4.48 – Husum Falls Take-Out: River Right. Take-Out is just below Husum Falls on River Right. A Short walk back to your car parked on river right. Below this point remain a couple miles of Class II+ whitewater until you reach Northwest Lake. This section after Husum Falls is called the “Lower White Salmon”.
Lower White Salmon – Class II & III
The “Lower” section continues on just below Husum Falls, and is considered to be beginner/intermediate.
Husum Falls to Northwest Park is 2.91 miles.
The Lower White Salmon Run drops ~60 feet per mile.
Mile 4.48 – Husum Falls Put-In: 45.79908, -121.4858 River Right. Put-In is just below Husum Falls on River Right. There is a parking lot just upstream on river right. Below this point are a few miles of Class II+ whitewater until you reach Northwest Lake. This section after Husum Falls is called the “Lower White Salmon”.
Mile 4.49 – Highway 141 Bridge: 45.79899, -121.48564 The Highway 141 Bridge passes over the White Salmon River, right as you Put-In.
Mile 4.59 – Husum Street Bridge: 45.79817, -121.4856 The Husum Street Bridge passes over the White Salmon River just below the Highway 141 Bridge. If you pass this bridge, the next easy Take-out is Northwest Park.
Mile 4.6 – Rattlesnake Rapid: 45.79741, -121.48582 Class III. Your quintessential “Blow It Up” Rapid. Get momentum, and hit the wave straight.This is the hardest rapid of the Lower White salmon, and below this point are numerous scattered unnamed Class II rapids.
Mile 7.38 – Northwestern Lake Bridge : 45.77985, -121.51662 The Northwestern Lake Bridge Passes over the Lower White Salmon, right before Take-Out on River Right.
Mile 7.39 – Northwest Park Take-Out : 45.77985, -121.51662 River Right. After running the Lower White Salmon, Take-Out on river right at Northwest Park, or continue on downstream.
Lower Lower White Salmon – Class II, III, & V
The “Lower Lower” section is the section below Northwest Park. The White Salmon River constricts into a very narrow gorge called “The Narrows”. Be advised there is a Class V known as Steelhead Falls, so be on your toes if you continue on past Northwest Park. This stretch takes you all the way to the confluence with the Columbia River.
Northwest Park Put-In to The Columbia River is 5.0 miles.
Intermediate – Expert
The Lower Lower White Salmon Run drops ~54 feet per mile.
Northwest Park Put-In to The Columbia River Take-Out is ~15minutes round trip. Google Map directions.
Mile 7.39 – Northwest Park Put-In: 45.77985, -121.51662 River Right. The Lower Lower White Salmon begins at Northwest Park.This is a cool stretch, as it takes you through the old site of the Condit Dam, which was removed in 2011. It’s mostly intermediate, but there is one Class V with an easy portage.
Mile 8.86 – Little Buck Creek Waterfall: 45.77066, -121.5378 River Right. Shortly after Put-in, a series of two small but beautiful waterfalls enter the White Salmon on river right. The first of these is Little Buck Creek, which you can park your boat under and take a quick rinse.
Mile 8.91 – Spring Creek Waterfall: 45.77005, -121.53773 River Right. The second waterfall, just downstream is called Spring Creek Waterfall.
Mile 9.12 – Former Condit Dam Site: 45.76716, -121.53815 River Left. This is the site of the old Condit Dam, which was removed in 2011. Check out this awesome video of the dam demolition. On river left, there are some remnants of the dam site you can look at.
Mile 9.83 – Steelhead Falls: 45.75971, -121.53427 Class V. Recommended portage. The river makes a large S-turn, through a boulder garden. When the river turns back to the right, you’ll see a rocky bank on the left. The main feature to avoid is the river-wide hole just downstream of the bend. Learn more about Steelhead Falls.
Mile 10.36 – Old Condit Powerhouse: 45.75435, -121.52826 River Left. You’ll pass the old Condit Powerhouse on river left (no longer in use). Just downstream is Class III Powerhouse rapid.
Mile 10.4 – Powerhouse Rapid: 45.75378, -121.52777 Class III. The river bends to the right, pushing most of the water into the left channel. Keep working right.
Mile 10.5 – Bridge: 45.75257, -121.52725 Bridge crossing.
Mile 11.04 – Finale: 45.74724, -121.5224 Class III. Final rapid of the trip. From here until takeout the river flattens out and is quite mellow.
Mile 12.39- Columbia River Take-Out: 45.72954, -121.52383 River Left. Take out is on river left at the confluence.