Cle Elum, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|Cle Elum Inflow Cle Elum Lake|
|dream-557||1000 - 4100 cfs||II||82h23m||420 cfs (too low)|
SEASON: Snowmelt. Usually June.
FUN FACT: Short beginner road-side run.
LOGISTICS: From I-90 take exit 80 and head for Rosyln/Salmon La Sac (those arriving from the east can take exit 84). 2.7 miles from I-90 you'll reach Highway 903, turn left towards the north (at this point you're at mile 4.2 on Highway 903 which becomes Salmon La Sac Road and parallels the run). Continue through Rosyln and past Cle Elum Reservoir to mile 17.4 and the turn-off to FR 4308. The bridge here is a good take-out. To reach the put-in return to Salmon La Sac Road and continue up to mile 21 and the bridge at Salmon La Sac Campground.
The run starts out at Salmon la Sac Campground. Here the river carves its way through a final class III rapid as it emerges from the China Gorge section upstream. This rapid is the site of the League of Northwest Whitewater Racers annual slalom race and the start for the downriver race which has been held in early June each year since 1962.
From the campground, this is a good beginner run with nearly contiuous action but good recovery pools. Many of the rapids are created as the river flows across gravel bars. Low water levels would make these sections less fun, but they are good with moderate snowmelt run- off. There is also some exposed bedrock and large boulders that create good features. The best of these is just downstream of the Cooper Road (FR 46) Bridge. You can see it from the road.
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