White Salmon River
The White Salmon River in Klickitat County is on of the few rivers in the northwest that can be run year round. The upper starts with the farmlands that is a stout class IV-V with various ledges and nasty holes. This is a run that requires a river height of at least 3 feet to be runnable. Just at the Farmlands takeout is the start of the Green Truss section. This is a solid run that the local professionals use as their training ground. This section runs a solid class IV+ to a V+ depending on the level. Big Brother is one of the many big drops in this classic northwest run.
The next section is one of the most popular runs in the northwest. This is a class III run that is challenging enough for the more advance boater, but also can also intimidate beginner boaters. Most of the rafting on the White Salmon River is done on this section. The optional class V Husum Falls is a great cool off for a hot summer day. This section is one of the main runs enjoyed by the participants of the Wednesday Night Happy Hour hosted by the Kayak Shed in Hood River. The remainder of the river is a class II run to the dam at Northwestern Lake. After a bang at the class III Rattlesnake Rapid.
East Fork of the Lewis River
The East Fork of the Lewis is one of my favorite rivers. There are three sections worth mentioning. The Waterfall Run, as the locals call it, is a class IV-V creeking run that has two 15-20 foot waterfalls with boulder gardens and ledge drops. Close to the middle of this run is a gorge section called Dragon’s Back that makes even the more advanced boaters respect it’s power. Horseshoe Falls caps off the run with an auto boof waterfall and a little boogie water to the takeout.
The next section worth mentioning is the Lucia Falls to Lewisville Park. This is a nice little class III section with one class IV drop at Heisson Bridge. A few miles of flat water round out this nice little section that pulls out at Lewisville Park just outside of Battle Ground, Washington. An easy class II starts at Lewisville Park and meanders just down river at Daybreak Park just off I-5 just south of Woodland, Washington.
The Clackamas River has many things for paddlers of all skill levels. The run “Fish to Bob’s” , as the locals call it, is one of the most paddled sections in Oregon. This classic class III runs is home to the Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival in the spring and also the summer classic “Wednesday Night Carnage Run” hosted by Next Adventure. No where but here can you get “flushed” by Toilet Bowl Rapid or get your “surf” on at Bob’s Hole. Down river beyond the reservoir is a few class II sections that most of the local boaters get their start. The classic Barton to Carver run is where I got my start as well as McIver to Barton or Carver to Clackamette. Some people just sit and surf the day away at Bob’s hole and wait for partners to paddle the river with later in the day.
The Clackamas River is to Portland as the White Salmon River is to the Gorge. This all year river can be run year round like the White Salmon with out the boat abuse that some of us locals put up with just to get out in the summer.