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.
A nice surf ledge where the river hits a big wall and heads off to the left.
This alternate access can be used as a take-out if you only want to run the upper half.
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.
From post on WKC forums.
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.
Does anyone know if the road to the putin at Huckleberry Crossing has a locked gate on it in 2013?
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.
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.
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.
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.
3 years ago
by Shanna Gachen
7 years ago
9 years ago
by David Elliott
10 years ago
by Jeff Weiss
Letter to Chelan PUD supporting improved river access at Plain.
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
shooting the gap
wood acoss river
tree across river
scenery on the Chiwawa
Rapids on the Chiwawa
Chiwawa Loop Road Access
Another view from just upstream
What we saw when we scouted
Tree Hazard - View from upstream
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!