Wenatchee - 1. Lake Wenatchee State Park to Tumwater Campground

Wenatchee, Washington, US


1. Lake Wenatchee State Park to Tumwater Campground

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 16.5 Miles

Wenatchee River at Plain

Wenatchee River at Plain
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 05/02/14 @ 4600 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12457000 400 - 15000 cfs II 00h45m 790 cfs (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Starting at Lake Wenatchee, most of the river is class I but you will encounter a few class II rapids in the rock gardens upstream of the bridge in Plain, an intermediate access point. A little ways downstream of Plain and after you pass the railroad bridge, you leave the vacation cabins behind and the river flows through a more remote setting as you encounter some sandstone ledges and high cliffs. The Highway 2 bridge marks the start of Tumwater Canyon and the end of this run. The river is high in the spring but can be enjoyed throughout the summer and into fall when the vine maples make for a beautiful fall colors trip.


To reach the put-in, turn off Highway 2 at Cole's Corner (Highway 2 mile 84.7) and head north on Highway 207, the Lake Wenatchee Highway. In 3.5 miles you will reach Cedar Brae Road that turns off to the left and continues 1 mile to the boat ramp in South Lake Wenatchee State Park. The boat ramp is at the outlet of Lake Wenatchee where the river starts.

An alternative put-in can be reached by heading north on Highway 207 for 4.2 miles from Highway 2 at Cole's Corner, and then turning right onto Braeburn Road just before crossing the Wenathee River. A short drive parallel to the Lake Wenatchee Highway goes between Braeburn Road and the river, just downstream of the bridge on river right. Be sure not to block access of the Braeburn Rd. residents.

An intermediate access point can be reached by heading north on Highway 207 for 3.8 miles from Highway 2 at Cole's Corner, and then turning right onto Highway 209 (Beaver Valley Road). Continue down this road 4.5 miles to the bridge across the Wenatchee. Chelan PUD developed a new access point on the downstream river right side of the bridge funded by the Public Power Benefit Program. The site includes parking off the highway, a seasonal restroom, and a trail and stairway to access the river for hand carry watercraft.

The take-out access is at the Highway 2 bridge across the Wenatchee River at milepost 90.5 on the downstream river right side of the bridge.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-12-28 17:17:58

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Plain AccessN/AAccess Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Plain Access (Class N/A)

Beaver Valley Road Bridge Access

Beaver Valley Road Bridge Access
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/30/17

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 21 2012 (2283 days ago)
Kathy SpencerDetails
Most people put-in at the South Lake Wenatchee State Park - either the beach or the boat launch. Be
sure to have your Discover Pass and pay the launch fee if you use the boat launch area. It is a
good fall colors trip if you don't mind low water. Taking two days to go from lake to Tumwater
Campground is a good idea if not doing it in the spring.
August 14 2012 (2290 days ago)
Kathy SpencerDetails
On 8/12/12, we stopped at the Tumwater Campground and talked with a lady who works for the company
contracted to manage the USFS campground. Our question was where to take out since the WA DOT
construction has the usual take out blocked. She said folks can park in the picnic area of the
campground (to the right as you enter) and take out on river left before the bridge. Landing there
looked very feasible, but entering the short gravel road by vehicle, down to the take out, looked
hazardous from the west side, due to the sharp turn required on the narrow, curving Tumwater Canyon
highway. You might want to drive toward Leavenworth until you reach a place where you can turn
around and then approach it from that direction. There was a porta potty between the highway and
the take out when we were there.

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Associated News

Associated Projects

  • 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.