Trip Research

In-progress research on places I may be interested in paddling.

Spring season: Palouse River from Palouse, WA to Elberton, WA

  • 16 miles (3-5 hrs? City says 5; trip report says 3)
  • Requires at least 300 cfs, which only happens for a short period in late Spring (gauge)
  • Can start 3+ miles upstream at the north River Road bridge inside Idaho (3 hr float for the 3+ miles to Palouse?)
  • Easy, good for beginners, some rocks hiding below the surface
  • Trip report from Matthew Singer, late March, 2016 claims that during early Spring the water is high enough to go from Laird Park in Idaho to the Snake River in WA, portaging around Palouse Falls. (Don’t miss the portage; the falls aren’t really survivable.)
  • City of Palouse page on paddling the river

Freshwater Bay (west of Port Angeles) around Observatory Point to the cliffs beyond

  • Trip #41 in Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, details posted on Facebook
  • Best to choose low wind days with a SW swell or small (to 3’),or lesser w or nw swell all year. Use the Neah Bay NOAA buoy for Swell info. Apps like WindAlert for wind. Water is usually colder than the Sound.
  • Aim for an ebb while exploring then take the flood and/or west wind back. Mid to higher tides to get into beaches. Low tides to see the rocks. Large swell for rock garden fun.
  • No parking fee or permit to park.

John Day River segment 2B (from Thirtymile Creek to Cottonwood Bridge)

  • This is a multi-day trip. Most of the land is BLM land, so you can camp and hike there, but you will need a map to avoid private land.Must pack out human waste. (There are disposal sites at Cottonwood and Clarno.)
  • Core season is May and June, and is busy (but permit-limited)
  • Not runnable past mid-late July due to rapid drop in the water level.
  • Found a post saying that rafting below 500 cfs rafting is dicey due to gravel bars and exposed rocks; bare minimum advised for canoes is about 300 cfs, and inflatable kayaks is about 200 cfs. (Also talks about the Deschutes and Owyhee.)
  • Requires a BLM permit (there’s a limited number of permits)
  • Road to Thirtymile launch is closed Dec 1 – April 15
  • Does *not* require the Oregon Waterway Access Permit (unlike virtually all places in Oregon)
  • BLM site on John Day River Boating includes permit info, links to shuttle operators, etc.
  • John Day River segment map at BLM notes boating access points and permit segments
  • has more info
  • Whitewater Guide Book summary on paddling from Clarno to CottonwoodI don’t want to start until Thirtymile in order to avoid the class III rapid about 4.5 miles downstream of Clarno.
  • Trip report on for the section before Clarno includes some helpful weather info and suggests that the general segment ratings are a bit below what they should be.
  • For canoes, recommended 700cfs to 5k cfs, and hydraulics get tricky and powerful at the higher flows — above 2.5k cfs canoeists should have intermediate whitewater skills and spray decks and/or airbags.
  • Carry lots of water due to silt, cow dung, pesticide & fertilizer.
  • Trip report on canoeing and kayaking Thirtymile to Cottonwood (with a ton of beer)

Grande Ronde River, Oregon