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Trip – Klickitat River

a waterfall in a forest

Every spring in southern Washington, Mt. Adams & the Goat Rock Wilderness begins to drain themselves from a long winter of rain & snow. With this runoff brews, one of the most action packed runs in the northwest! This remote and secluded canyon passes through some of the most picturesque scenery around.

It cuts its way through an 800 ft. deep canyon with basalt cliffs, and plenty of waterfalls and side streams. Boaters will experience deep canyon rim-to-rim views, with twisted lava formations, a rainbow of wildflowers, and dense oak forests. The continuous Class III and Class IV rapids wind for 21 miles through lush woodland on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains.

This run can only be done in the spring when glacial snowfields melt to fill the river. The rapids on the Klickitat are characterized by long-wave trains, boulder gardens, and twisting bends. It is appropriate for strong boaters with lots of Class III experience. Intermediate paddlers might want to consider this run in the summer when lower flows create more eddies and mellow out the rapids.

The Klickitat River is located 2 hours east of Portland and there is plenty of camping nearby. Leidl Campground is an excellent site for a weekend away from it all.

Shuttle Logistics:

Put In: Drive either 3.5 miles east of the town of Glenwood or 9 miles west from Leidl Bridge and turn north onto a road about 100 yards west of the turnoff to the Klickitat Fish Hatchery. Continue on this road for about 8 miles and bear right onto Road K1400 (unpaved). Drive about 3/4 of a mile and turn right onto Road K1410. Bear left after 1.5 miles and continue another half a mile to an abandoned gauging station.
Take Out: From I-84 take Washington Highway 141 north for about 9 miles to BZ Corner and turn right, crossing the White Salmon River, and continue for about 18 miles to the town of Glenwood. Proceed east past Glenwood for about 12 miles to the boat ramp below Leidl Bridge on the right bank (Washington Department of Wildlife license required).

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