White Salmon River (Middle)
|Stretch:||BZ Corner to Husum Street|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV-|
|Flows:||500 cfs to ~2,000 cfs . Check out American Whitewater's current flow gauge.|
|Gradient:||74 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Access in the town of BZ Corner|
|Take-out:||Access just below Husum Falls at Husum Street|
|Shuttle:||4.1 miles. Less than 10 minutes one way|
|Featured in A Wet State #140|
Jobless Summer 2019 Roadtrip:
Day 10: Cozzoli Family Wedding
What’s to say, a fun Italian filled wedding for a cousin of mine. Good times were had! The next morning we woke up and had brunch with 21 of my family members before everyone headed their way… for us, that was…
After brunch, Diane and I headed towards the White Salmon. We had hoped for the Little White Salmon, which I have not done. However we were told it was too low. Though days later I see other people posting pics of it saying it is still fine at the low flow. Oh well. We also had done the Green Truss before, so instead we wanted to do the easier, but new to us, downstream sections starting at BZ Corner (take out of Green Truss) and go to the Columbia River. The plan was to meet up with our friend Matt Huddleston from Alabama who was working as a nurse in Washington. We had time to kill though as we were ahead of schedule, so we went and grabbed a campground for us for the night as my brother and his gf were planning to camp with us and since it was a holiday weekend I was afraid camping would fill up. We got one along the Little White Salmon, and then headed towards take-out of the White Salmon to meet Matt.
This run is actually much better than I anticipated. It is a popular rafting run and I think by default I don’t give rafting runs credit. But from put in, you are greeted with crystal clear and bright blue water, to accompany the tight canyon walls. A few fun rapids start from the moment you slide in. Eventually tapering down in frequency though, you are left with a fun but very manageable class III/IV type of run. The main event is the falls at take-out, the classic Husum Falls. One of the few waterfalls that is commercially rafted in the world. After running it, we continued on to the next section downriver.
We had 830 cfs which is on the lower side but was plenty of water for the run. I thought it was great at this flow. As flows go up, Husum gets meaner, so think about scouting it from the road as it is just at the bridge over the river and super easy to scout. I should also say, at normal summer flows the rapids are just III to III+ (except Husum Falls). But I imagine in the winter when flows are up, things get a little bigger.
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Next: Jobless Summer 2019 Roadtrip - Day 11b: White Salmon River (Lower)
- Maytag / Top Drop (III+). The river starts with a bang directly from put-in. The second you slide into the river you are in this drop. It is a long rapid with a few ledges. Scout before sliding in. both main ledges are fine just be straight and with a good stoke.
- Grasshopper (III- to III). Just downstream is a nice boogie rapid along the right wall. You can run anywhere.
- Siwash (III). A fun splashy rapid that had a nice fluffy line down the center or a boof over a ledge on the left.
- Corkscrew (III-). Boogie rapid.
- Stairstep Falls (III). A nice multi tier section of rapids with ledges stepping down. We just ran with the water.
- Husum Falls (IV to IV+). Not class V, but I get why the rafting companies call it that. The rapid has a class II lead in to a 8 foot ledge or so. The normal line is on the right of the main channel with a smidge of left angle and momentum. It is super easy to scout from the bridge before putting on and clearly marked from the river upstream as well.
Take-out: From White Salmon head up WA141 out of town and follow this for 7 miles to the town of Husum. Take-out is on WA-141, on the left, just before the bridge over the river.
Put-in: Continue up WA-141 for 4.1 miles to the town of BZ Corner. Just past the intersection in town is the river access and park area. This is put-in. There is a trail down to the river there.
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