The wild waterways of the White Salmon River – a 44-mile long tributary that flows into the Columbia River at Underwood, WA, just opposite the town of Hood River, OR – are among the most scenic in the Pacific Northwest. From its beginnings on the slopes of Mt. Adams in Washington until its eventual arrival in the picturesque Columbia River Gorge, this pristine waterway features multiple rapids and thrilling twists and turns as it winds through lush forests and deep valleys, making it one of the premiere locations for whitewater rafting, year-round.
Rafting the White Salmon
Suited for single day trips as well as longer, overnight excursions, the intermediate difficulty and unique challenges of the river make it ideal for beginning and advanced rafters. A former lava tube that was eroded out and filled by glacial runoff from Mt. Adams, the river winds through narrow basalt canyons interspersed with sunlit valley flowers covered in pristine forests. Over its 44-mile route riders get to test their mettle on Class III and IV rapids, sure to thrill and excite while testing even veteran paddlers.
Wild and Free at the White Salmon River
With an undeveloped and isolated shoreline, trips down the White Salmon River are as close as you can get to catching a glimpse the Pacific Northwest as it was centuries ago. Wildlife, unafraid and curious, are frequently spotted along the riverbanks, and the crystal clear waters run cool and deep all year long. Private, self-guided rentals can put in at BZ Corner, a day-use site with facilities that is open to the public. Numerous tour operators put in a few miles upstream, offering additional rapids and challenges not available anywhere else. They generally offer half and full-day trips on the river that are sure to be the adventure of a lifetime.
Such Great Heights
One of the highlights of whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River is Husum Falls, one of the tallest raft-able waterfalls in the country. Conditions permitting, your raft will tackle this 12’ cataclysm and its heart-thumping, pulse-pounding, adrenaline-soaked vertical plunge. More experienced trips through the Class V rapids of the Upper Gorge are also offered, as well as multi-day trips that tackle the White Salmon and an additional network of beautiful waterways in the Columbia River Gorge system.
Ten commercial operators feature tours on the White Salmon (with more than 25,000 visitors annually), and all of them are an exceptional way to experience this beautiful and pristine river while undertaking the adventure of a lifetime.
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