Logistics: From the town of Glenwood head 0.5 miles east toward Goldendale and turn north on to Mt. Adams Rd. Follow this road 2.3 north to the T junction and turn left on the K1000 road. Kayakers typically continue to road mile 6.2 and a pull-out (photo) where a steep trail at the Yakama Reservation boundary allows you to scramble down into the canyon to the point where Muddy Creek joins the Klickitat. If you reach the Cougar Creek bridge at mile 7.1 you've gone too far. There is an alternative put-in downstream with much easier access and great riverside camping. This site is typically used by rafters or for those who wish to skip the more challenging rapids upstream. To reach this access, turn off the K1000 road at mile 3.3 head down into the canyon on the K1400 road (it may not be marked). Head down 0.7 miles and then turn right on K1410 and continue another 1.5 miles. At that point head left and continue on down to the river. There is a good launch for rafts and some nice camp sites at this access point which is about half a mile downstream from Dairy Creek. Most kayakers or day trippers use the take-out access at the WDFW fish hatchery. The access is 3.7 miles east of Glenwood along the road towards Goldendale. Turn northeast (you should see a sign for the hatchery) and follow the road 3.1 miles down into the canyon (the last mile is a series of switchbacks). Alternate access for longer trips is available at either the Summit Road Bridge or Leidl Campground.
Description: Kayakers and rafters usually flock to this popular section of the Klickitat around Memorial Day weekend. The put-in road typically remains snowed in at least through early spring so its a good idea to get a road report before making the trip (see Bennett's book for an entertaining story of two rafters who flagged down a snowmobile shuttle).
The upper put-in typically used by kayakers is a really heinous slide. Bring some rope to hold on to the end of your boat. At least you don't have to carry your boat--it carries you. Otherwise you can lower each boat down on its own 70' rope. The upper section starts out steep and fast but still rates class III+. You are in a gorge so once you're committed there is no access. The run is incredibly beautiful, with perfect basalt columns rising 400 feet straight out of the river in some places. The rapids consist of slides that lead directly into a big basalt headwalls and there are several fun wave trains. Boat scouting should be fine although things happen fast (photo).
After a couple of miles the rafter put-in is reached, and the run continues with a few more bigger class III rapids before calming down a bit to easy class III. The river is less steep, with bigger meander bends and many logs. The most beautiful section of the river is here, with the largest cliffs of basalt columns (photo). With the last three miles character of the river changes with fewer headwalls and easier class II+ boulder gardens.
Most kayakers take out at the Fish Hatchery (photo) while rafts continue downstream to Leidl Campground.
With contributions from Kevin Whilden
No wood requiring special attention in the main channels from Parrott Crossing to the Hatchery as of August 13, 2017. Just a couple spots where wood protruded from the banks, easily avoided. 1200 cfs.
No more log jam! We ran the from Parrot Crossing to the Hatchery today, and when we approached the basalt cliffs section, there was no more jam to be found. We were very confused because all the beta we had received prior to making the run told us that the log jam was present. After cross checking with google maps, we can confirm that the jam is no longer present and the run is clear. However, beware of logs downstream. Some must have been blasted free in high water and have been lodged along some cliff walls further downstream.
Clear run, fun run. All the good things.
To add to Cope's warning, its at the second basault cliff you'll see. We also tried to leave a warning at the put in, but its unprotected on regular paper so wont last weather well. Here is a link to Google Earth where the river splits to two channels, the right channel which has the log jam. The water level was significantly higher than what you'll see in the URL, so dont expect the channels to be so distinct with such a large island between the two:
Gets really low in the summers, but is deffinitly worth the "slow" ride because of the wildlife and canyons surrounding the river. In early spring though this part of the river is definitly a whitewater adventure.
8 years ago
Best at levels of 2000-3000 cfs.
Expect the river to be more pushy
above 3000 cfs
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Parrott Crossing Put In
Dogs of the Klickitat
Klickitat basalt walls
rapid on the Klickitat
Klickitat, upper put-in
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