Trip Information Full Day White Salmon
Guests need to be capable of a short hike over uneven terrain and a scramble up a short rock wall during a portage around Steelhead Falls on this section. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions about whether this trip is for you!
Check in is at 9:30am. Our Full Day White Salmon trip is available Monday-Friday, and is only offered in the morning. We recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to sign waivers, and meet the guides. We may be unable to accommodate guests who arrive late and we cannot guarantee refunds to late guests.
(From Portland Area/Hood River)
Once in Hood River, cross the Hood River Bridge into Washington. Make a left on WA-14W and go 1.5 miles. Make a right on WA-141 Alt/WA-141 Alternate N and go 2.2 miles. Make a left and continue on WA-141 N and go 1.9 miles. Make a left on Nestor Peak Road/Northwestern Lake Road and go 0.4 miles. Turn left into Northwestern Park and look for parking near our green shuttle buses.
*Parking can be limited at Northwestern Park, particularly on weekends in the middle of summer. We highly recommend carpooling with the other guests in your group and limiting the amount of vehicles that you bring to Northwestern Park as much as possible. The White Salmon Park and Ride near the Hood River Bridge can be a good place to consolidate your group and leave vehicles behind.
What To Bring:
We provide all of the rafting gear you need! All you need to bring is your swimsuit! If you have any medications, snacks, or a water bottle you would like to bring on the trip just let your guide know and we can keep them dry and secure in a dry bag on the raft so that they can be accessed quickly if needed. Under the wetsuit, plan on wearing either your swimsuit, your underwear, or just your birthday suit! Synthetic long underwear or rash guards can also be nice to wear under your wetsuit. Guests are welcome to bring and wear their own wetsuits, neoprene booties, and helmets. If a guest wishes to use their own PFD it must be rated type V. Guests are welcome to wear hats under their helmets as long as it doesn’t obscure their vision. Guests are welcome to wear glasses/sunglasses on the river but we highly recommend using croakies or a retention device to prevent them from getting lost. We may have some croakies available for purchase before the trip. We recommend against bringing any electronics (such as phones or cameras), jewelry, or valuables of any kind on the trip. A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive it is, the faster it will sink to the bottom of the river! After you change into the gear we provide, use your vehicle as your locker and keep all your dry clothes, footwear, and any valuables locked safely in your vehicle. Do not bring your vehicle keys on the river! We will provide a safe and secure location for guests to leave their keys so that they do not get lost and will be waiting for you after the trip.
What we provide:
All our guests will be provided with wetsuits, neoprene booties, Type V PFDs, helmets, splash tops, and a delicious lunch.
Once everyone has checked in and signed waivers, at 9:30am, we will begin handing out gear and explain how to get changed. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you have about how to put on your rafting gear. Once everyone has changed, we will board the green shuttle buses and drive to the launch site at BZ corner. At the launch site there will be a brief rafting orientation and then guests will be split into their raft crews and we will get the rafts into the water and begin the trip.
The Middle White Salmon begins with a bang! We will run over a dozen class III-IV rapids in just the first mile! At about the halfway point in the trip, we will reach Husum Falls, an optional 12 foot waterfall. Husum Falls is level dependent and can only be run commercially at certain water levels. If the level is right and your crew proves they are up for the challenge and follow their guides instructions well, your guide will be happy to take you for the plunge over this Class IV-V drop. Don’t forget to hang on tight when your guide says “Get Down!” Guests who do not wish to run the falls will have the option to get out and walk around the rapid and get back in afterwards. After Husum Falls, get ready for 3 more miles of fun Class II+ rapids down to our lunch stop at Northwestern Park!
After eating a delicious catered lunch at the park, we will hop back in the rafts and continue another 4.5 miles down the Lower Gorge of the White Salmon. As you descend through the remnant lake bed of the former Northwestern Lake, you’ll encounter exciting and continuous Class II+ rapids culminating in a spectacular gorge just upstream of the site of former Condit Dam. It might be hard to imagine, but the waterfalls and impressive rock formations in this section of canyon used to be buried over 100 feet underwater at the bottom of Northwestern Lake for 96 years! You’ll soon find yourself at the site of the former dam, which was removed in 2011-12. Very little evidence of the dam remains but try and imagine a 125 foot tall, 80 foot thick wall of concrete rising up above you as you pass through this section.
Next you’ll encounter what many consider to be the most stunning and beautiful section of the White Salmon River. Lush Moss, hanging gardens of flowers and ferns adorn the towering basalt walls and caves in this deep canyon. A few Class II rapids will keep you on your toes before you reach Steelhead Falls, a mandatory portage. Guests will walk around this rapid and scramble up a short rock wall before getting back in the rafts and paddling through the most breathtaking part of the Lower Gorge, the White Salmon Narrows! Here the river passes through a narrow basalt slot canyon with impressive cliff walls rising 100 feet overhead! The next mile of the trip contains many technical class II rapids that will test your paddle crews ability to work together as a team.
Finally, the river will calm and slow as it approaches the confluence with the Columbia. Keep your eyes peeled for Bald Eagles, River Otters, and other wildlife as the river winds its way through braided channels. Late in the season, in September and October, spawning salmon can often be seen here migrating upstream. You’ll enjoy a spectacular view of Mt Hood from across the Columbia before taking out just upstream of the Hwy 14 bridge, where our shuttle buses will be waiting to bring us back to Northwestern Park. There at the park, everyone can change out of their rafting gear and have the opportunity so see and purchase photos from Husum Falls and Rattlesnake rapids, taken by our professional photographer! We will also have T-shirts, hats, and stickers available for purchase for anyone who would like to take a souvenir home! We hope you enjoyed the trip and return to run more whitewater with us soon! Most of our business comes through word of mouth, so if you enjoyed your trip, tell your family and friends about it! Tag us on social media and leave us reviews on Trip Advisor or Yelp!