Wind - 4. High Bridge to Columbia River (Lower)

Wind, Washington, US


4. High Bridge to Columbia River (Lower)

Usual Difficulty IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)
Length 5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 56 fpm

Shipherd Falls

Shipherd Falls
Photo of Ryan Cole by C.J. Arnold taken 07/01/07 @ Good

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Wind R. @ Stabler
wadoe-29C100 80 - 2000 cfs IV-V(V+) 04h20m 103 cfs (running)
Falls runnable; rest is boney

River Description

This run through the spectacular Wind River Canyon features some great rapids and a personality that changes with flows. At low summer flows you can have a fun evening running Shipherd Falls and at higher winter flows be prepared for action-packed excitement and a mandatory portage of the falls.


Shortly after the put-in you encounter High Bridge Rapid which is a fun class IV boulder garden and one of the longer drops on the run with lots of good eddies and slalom moves at moderate flows. Below this rapid the run settles in to class II and III pool-drop rapids. The next big drop is The Flume which is a great class IV rapid ending in a pool at the bottom. You can get around the main part of the rapid by portaging on the right. Just a few hundred yards downstream of The Flume you will encounter class V Beyond Limits at an obvious horizon line. This drop can be portaged on the left hand side. The line to run it is down the right but depending on the flow the rocks on the right back up the flow to create a nasty hydraulic at the base of the falls.


After Beyond Limits you are just about to Shipherd Falls and you will need to hop out on the fish ladder on river left. Shipherd Falls is a series of four drops that can be run at low summer flows. The problem with running them at higher flows is the dam at the bottom that was constructed to direct fish into the fish ladder creating a deadly hydraulic characteristic of lowhead dams. The state fisheries department does not look favorably on boaters portaging on the fish ladder, but their dam creates the hazard to navigation that requires a portage. If you are running the river during moderate to high flows and portaging down the fish ladder you will need to scramble up the cliff at the bottom on river left for a 25' huck and jump into the pool below the falls. This is necessary to safely clear the hydraulic at the base of the dam and would be extremely challenging during icy conditions.


From this point on it is a fairly easy run out to the take-out on river right.


For additional information and great pictures check out the Lower Wind River page and Shipherd Falls (only run at low summer flows) on Jason Rackley's site. Panther Creek can be used as an alternative put-in for this run or you can add the Upper Wind for a longer trip.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-11-10 14:55:37

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-2.1Shipherd FallsVIPortage Hazard Waterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Shipherd Falls (Class VI, Mile -2.1)

Shipherd Falls

Shipherd Falls
Photo of Jesse from Hood River by John E Sunshine taken 08/04/08 @ good flow for falls

Deadly hydraulic at medium to high flows that is typically portaged but can be run during low summer flows.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 11 2016 (920 days ago)
kiwikayak (158199)
We ran High Bridge to Shippard Falls at ~270cfs and found this to be a perfect level for the falls.
There were also two class 4 rapids of note between HB and the falls (both clean). The first of the
Shippard drops could be run and the rest portaged if desired. If running the second, the third
becomes must-run which sucks because the third is also the mankiest (though felt clean at this
flow). The weir is safe to run with a straight boof and has weaknesses on the LH and RH sides.

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Associated Projects

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    Several rivers in Oregon and Washington were protected under the 1986 Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area Act.
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