Description: This is a beautiful run with awesome scenery and great rapids. Of all the runs in the Naches drainage it offers the most significant opportunities for solitude because the road is high up on the hillside and not down along the river as is the case everywhere else. Flows are not diverted or dammed and the banks are not scattered with rip rap. It is one of the true gems of the drainage.
The run starts in a tight canyon with alternating cliffs and steep rapids. One of the first drops on this section is the most challenging on the run. You leave Forest Service lands as you pass by a private residence deep in the canyon. The river goes through a broad valley with continuous low-gradient rapids with some braided channels and gravel bar rapids. Next, it enters a winding box canyon with tall cliffs on each side. The rapids here are mostly curves into slightly undercut basalt walls. The run ends in another broad valley with some braided channels. You know you are approaching the take-out when you see the Naches River valley in front of you.
While the rapids may only rate class III, this is not a run for hesitant class III boaters and you should be prepared to make class IV moves around hazards depending on the wood situation. A half dozen portages are to be expected with the actual location shifting from year to year. That being said, this run is known for it's great scenery and is a fun trip for those with the skills to safely enjoy the run.
Logistics: This river is a tributary of the Naches accessed off Highway 410 and located upstream of the Tieton confluence but downstream of the American and Bumping Rivers. To reach the take-out, turn onto Nile Road off Highway 410 at mile 108.3. Follow this road 1.4 miles to the bridge across Rattlesnake Creek. To reach the put-in, take the FR 1500 (Bethel Ridge Road) that heads upstream on river right. This shuttle road offers some great views down into the canyon before you drop down towards the river. At mile 7.6 on this road you will take the 1502 road which turns off to the right headed for McDaniel Lake. Follow this road 0.7 miles to the bridge across Rattlesnake Creek. There is informal camping in the area around the bridge if you need a good meeting place.
With contributions from Dave Elliott
We ran on July 7 when Naches at Clifdell was at 2500 cfs. This was a good flow but it could have used a touch more water in spots. We had four wood portages and two limbo logs. All were fairly straightforward and visible from upstream although at least one required quickly scrambling to a small eddy. Great continuous whitewater with no rapids more than class III but wood is in play requiring the occasional class IV move. Spectacular scenery and a great trip--solitude and remote feel with relatively simple logistics (easy put-in and take-out on both ends).
So bring your skills and your sense of adventure, because this run although woody is well worth the blood and sweat of the portages (at least 5 mandatory) with 1 being down right hellish. The beginning rapids are fun and the ever twisting river (hence the name rattlesnake) will keep your heart rate up and eyes focus for potential river stopping wood. There is at least one class IV and it’s got a river wide log, but at the right flows and blood to alcohol level you should be able to buff over it. Enjoy the remoteness of the run (feels like a class V exploratory trip) and don’t plan on hiking out, once on the river your happy A#@ is committed.
Gee David, you beat me to it! I just want to second David's point about the Class III rating...this river REQUIRES Class IV skills due to the logs (that will be there). Worth the carries though, most were very easy.
This is a beautiful run with awesome scenery and great rapids. The run starts in a tight canyon with alternating cliffs and steep rapids. It then goes through a broad valley with continuous low-gradient rapids with lots of braids. Next, it enters a winding box canyon with tall cliffs on each side. The rapids here are mostly curves into slightly undercut basalt walls. The run ends in another broad valley with braids and lots of shallow gravel bars.
Despite the class III rating in the guides, this is not a run for class III boaters. In the Spring of 2004, we had to portage logs 9 times. Also, there was a river-wide log in the second canyon that would be very difficult to portage, and luckily can be run (run it close to the wall, where there is a log sticking out - if you are too far left, you could get stuck on the log like I did). If you do this run, take a light boat be prepared for portages, but be prepared to have a blast! This run is worth the hassle.
You will probably want something around 2000 cfs or a
bit more on the Naches at Clifdell.
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.
Lower Rattlesnake Creek
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