Download the #1 app for rafting the Wind River. Guide by Steve Merrow.
Wind River Rafting Guide
The Wind River is high on the list of best rafting and kayaking rivers in the Columbia Gorge. While it shares the same volcanic headwaters as the White Salmon, the lack of glacial runoff results in a shorter winter/spring season that relies heavily on rainfall and snowmelt. When the rain does come, boaters should prioritize exploring this lush forested whitewater playground. The Wind River has an upper and a lower section, both with their own set of pros and cons.
This run should be considered only for Advanced/Expert boaters. For local comparisons; the Upper Wind at medium flows is harder than the Orletta, easier than the Green Truss, and comparable to the West Fork Hood at high water. The nature of the run requires boaters to be comfortable reading and running Class IV+, technical rapids with pushy boat-flipping features. For those searching for this environment, the Wind is a magical place. For those not quite there, wait for lower flows or hop in a raft with folks who have experience on the run. The ability to boat scout, catch eddies, ferry and communicate within a group is essential to everyone staying safe on the Wind. Wet suits or dry suits are recommended. Wrap kits are also recommended on this river as there are numerous places to wrap a boat.
Upper Wind River – Class III, IV & V
When the water is up, the Upper Wind is the most commonly run section of the Wind River. It features easy logistics, some of the best Class IV, -V whitewater in the Gorge, and is well known for the incredibly fun Ram’s Horn Sequence. Kayakers can easily complete the run in 90 minutes, making this a great option for a two lap day! When the Upper Wind is running, the Lower Wind requires a portage around a series of substantial waterfalls and therefore the two sections are not often run together, but it is possible!