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Difficulty III
Length 11 Miles
Gauge CHIWAWA RIVER NEAR PLAIN, WA
Flow Range 1100 - 3500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 weeks ago 122 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/09/2010 4:49 am

River Description


The Chiwawa is a great intermediate run through the Wenatchee National Forest with continuous class II and III rapids over most of its length. At intermediate flows there are plenty of great surf spots. Wood is in play on this run and you can expect to have logs that extend into the channel. The river is generally wide enough that you can find your way around but in some years there have been trees across the channel that required a portage so be alert. The other issue to be aware of is the dense riverside vegetation. At spring flows the alder trees extend into the river and the banks are generally very brushy.
 

For those who want a shorter run of the best whitewater you can run just the first 6 miles and take out at the Forest Road bridge. If you have more time it's worth continuing downstream another 4.6 miles. The first couple miles of the lower section continue at the same pace as above with some great surf spots. The action then begins to taper off and you encounter a number of cabins as you approach the Chiwawa Loop Road Bridge. NOTE: The lower takeout is now blocked and there are "Private Property" signs in the parking area. The path down to the river is long and overgrown and there is a lot of wood in the river at this spot. Make sure you thoroughly scout this takeout if you use it.

 

Rapid Descriptions

Surfer's Corner

Class - III Mile - -10.8

A nice surf ledge where the river hits a big wall and heads off to the left.

Alternate Access

Class - Mile - -6.7

This alternate access can be used as a take-out if you only want to run the upper half.

Alternate Access

Class - Mile - -2.1

This access avoids the fish trap and the float out to the Wenatchee. Access is available on river right under the Chiwawa Loop Road bridge.

Comments

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Dawn Meekhof
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16 years ago

We ran the Chiwawa on the 27th of May 2002. The river-wide log is still there, with a few more logs piled on top of it. It is several miles into the run, after a right bend. There are a few small eddies river right just above the log.

The first few miles of this run contain many logs to be avoided. In one place, a river-left log leaves a small chute next to a rock. It's fine to manuever in a kayak, but a raft wouldn't be able to use this chute.

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Suzi Gaines
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17 years ago

I ran the Chiwawa River in WA yesterday (5/28/01) with 3 friends. We had 2 kayaks and a 14' cat and ran the Huckleberry Ford to Wenatchee River section. At approximately 1 hour 20 minutes into the trip we came up to a new downed tree (pine needles and branches still intact) that spanned the entire river. It's 20 - 30 river minutes before the bridge near Goose Creek campground, in the Big Meadow Creek Gorge. It's a heavily forested area making portage for kayaks difficult, and pretty much impossible for rafts. There isn't a good eddy for an oar boat above the tree, but there is a log to side up to on river right about 80 feet above the tree. We had to line the cat around trees and thick brush, a saw would have helped tremendously. Lining the cat added about 1 1/2 hours to what should have been a 3 hour trip. The tree poses a serious hazard to boaters. I have pictures of the tree, if anyone would like to see them contact me.

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Shanna Gachen
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2 years ago

From post on WKC forums. 5/12/16 1700cfs About 15 min river time from the Grouse Creek launch and before the rapid known as "Thread-the-Needle" is a mid-river island that has both right and left channels blocked by trees. It is a mandatory portage on river left.

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Kathy Spencer
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5 years ago

Does anyone know if the road to the putin at Huckleberry Crossing has a locked gate on it in 2013?

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David Elliott
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7 years ago

As of June 2011, there are no logs that block the channel. There are places where there are logs that force you one way or another, but it isn't hard to get around them.

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Thomas O'Keefe
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10 years ago

As of this weekend the river was clear of wood aside from a number of trees that extended into the river but were easily avoided. No portages were required.

Summary of Gauge Readings

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
CHIWAWA RIVER NEAR PLAIN, WA
AW Gauge Info
122 cfs 20d07h13m n/a
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Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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News

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Wenatchee River Festival 2008

2008-06-12 00:00:00-04
Thomas O'Keefe

There's still snow in the mountains and flows have been great all spring as boaters from across Washington state gear up to host the Wenatchee River Festival on one of the region's premiere whitewater rivers. Boaters from across the Pacific Northwest will all converge on the town of Cashmere this weekend for a great weekend of fun and activities on the water.

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TAKE ACTION: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Plan Open for Comment

2011-09-15 20:53:00-04
Thomas O'Keefe

The Forest Service is developing a new Forest Plan for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and has released a Proposed Action. The Forest Service is accepting public comment on this plan that will guide management for the next decade or more. 

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Matt Muir

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Thomas O'Keefe

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David Elliott

Treasurer