Cle Elum - 3 - Cle Elum Dam to confluence with Yakima River

Cle Elum, Washington, US


3 - Cle Elum Dam to confluence with Yakima River

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 24 fpm

Cle Elum below dam

Cle Elum below dam
Photo of Jennie Goldberg by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 07/20/02 @ 3100 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Cle Elum Below Cle Elum Dam
dream-553 1200 - 4000 cfs II 17h51m 220 cfs (too low)

River Description

SEASON: Late May through early September. Dam release is relatively stable although fluctuations can occur without warning.


As long as there is a good snowpack and the reservoir is full, this run typically has good flows through the summer. This river has fairly continuous class II rapids with some good wave trains. Beginners will find the run enjoyable at the lower limit of flows but there are fewer eddies at the higher limit of flows. Log hazards are a prevelant along the run.

LOGISTICS: From I-90 take exit 80 and head for Roslyn/Salmon La Sac. 0.4 miles from I-90 you will cross the take-out bridge over the Cle Elum. Parking options are not great here, but you'll find a pull-out for a couple cars on the river right side of the bridge. There is good access downstream river right of the bridge. To reach the put-in, continue 2.3 miles east from the take-out bridge to the intersection with Higway 903 and turn left towards the north (at this point you're at mile 4.2 on Highway 903 which becomes Salmon La Sac Road). Pass through the town of Rosyln and continue north to one of two possible access points. The first is an informal Forest Service site along the river. At mile 8.6 on Salmon La Sac Road turn left on Winston Road. Follow this road 1.2 miles to an access point right on the river. It is a gravel road and there are several turns that branch off to gravel pits and staging areas but just stay generally straight and towards the end you will go down a hill to the river (you should see a Forest Service sign board and some informal camp sites). The next access is a short way up river but the road to get down the river is in worse shape. You reach it by turning left off Salmon La Sac Road at mile 9.1 on to Lake Cabin Road , and then take a second immediate left following the sign to Cle Elum Dam. Continue 0.5 miles toward the dam and turn left on to an unimproved dirt road (high clearance recommended). From here it's 0.4 miles down to a bridge with a put-in on river left. This site has also been formally developed as a salmon viewing site and it's a great place to watch fish in the fall.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-06-07 06:03:43


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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Associated Projects

  • Greenway Whitewater (WA)
    The Mountains to Sound Greenway stretches over 100 miles along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington. AW is engaged in promoting stewardship and protection of the rivers in this corridor.
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (WA)
    The Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests are home to some great whitewater runs and AW has in interest in protecting the resource values of these rivers.