With a consistent release from upstream reservoirs supplying irrigation demand this is a good float through the summer. Be aware of wood hazards and avoid the irrigation weir that forms a dangerous hydraulic (either take-out upstream or make a plan to portage).
A standard run is from the Teanaway confluence down to the Thorp Highway Bridge. For a longer run you can put-in further upstream on the Cle Elum River at Bullfrog Road just before it joins the Yakima River.
The put-in at the Teanaway confluence is a WDFW site (Discover Pass required). At Highway 970 mile 2.5 (just west of the junction of Highway 970 and Highway 10) turn south on a dirt road following the signs for river access across the railroad tracks and continuing about a 1/4 mile down to the river.
To reach the take-out from the put-in, head back out to Highway 970, turn right, and in 0.1 mile turn on to Highway 10. Follow it 9 miles to Highway 10 mile marker 97.3 where you turn right on Thorp Highway. Continue 0.9 mile down Thorp Highway to the bridge across the river. Access is available on the downstream river right side of the bridge.
An alternative take-out is available a little further downstream at Highway 10 mile marker 101.1. This is just upstream of the lowhead dam that must be avoided (it has been the site of a couple fatalities) at Highway 10 mile marker 101.5.
Paddled from the Teanaway confluence to the Thorp Highway bridge on 8/25/18 in inflatable kayaks. Some folks putting in before us recommended staying to the right to avoid a logjam in the main channel ~1/4 mile after the put in. Looking at a map, we decided to take the small channel exiting nearly perpendicular to the main flow 200 yards from the put in. We're not sure if this is what they were recommending, but it was clear. We didn't come across any other hazards.
Put in at Teanaway confluence and floated down to the dam in 14ft float boat. Took about 3hrs. and was running about 4200 sq. ft. Great run for beginner to intermediate skill levels. Nothing hard to deal with except there was a log jamb to navigate around about a quarter mile down from the put in at the public access parking lot where Hwy 10 and 97 intersect. A Discover pass is required for parking or you can park out by the road and walk in about a quarter mile. You can unload equipment right next to the river. The take outs are well marked with signs on the river.
Paddled from Teanaway to dam afternoon 10-12-11. Cfs 1500. Water thin but excellent paddling, chutes full, good rock slaloming. Intermediate skills with Wenonah Rendezvous.
33 minor rapids were charted off Google Earth, through a country wilderness landscape. Excellent fall canoeing requiring waterproof cool weather clothing.
Water at the Teanaway takes 16 hours traveling to the gauge at Umtanum. If the gauge at Umtanum is falling, Teanaway levels may be higher. Example, enjoyed the trip at gauge 1500, 16 hours before (upriver minus) gauge read 1540-50. Photos are at 1460 gauge minus 16 hours. Check with NOAA for rain or snow for melt at or above Cle Elum and rising or falling at Cle Elum gauge 43089.
Of consequence for tandem canoes or beginners:
First rapid is road visible at N47.16196 W120.81260. A 2+ at 1300-1500 CFS, scout from below. Possible name: RUIN YOUR DAY ? Second
heads up drop is below a bridge, N47.10128 W120.70192. Run right side.
Third rapid, see photos on right top bar extension, at N47.075042 W120.663440, shallow and sharp, scout from left sandbar.
Rapid 3, visible from RT 10, is not a stream gauge, flow reduced by half in diversion, flow thru the sand hill's erosion.
The hillside chute at Bristol Flats, N47.14945 W120.80875, is floated over a shallow sandbar left bank. Boat ramp is at the sandbar.
Air quality degrades with agricultural dusts below the canyon and at dam take out, N47.06504 W120.65422. Local guide reports the right dam portage is strung with barbed wire.
GPS coordinates are upriver from point. O'Keefe's photo is a pleasant burbling ripple at 1500 Cfs. Ellensburg KOA will shuttle.
This run can be extended upstream by putting in at the Cle Elum dam, which adds 18 miles (about 4 hours) or at Bullfrog Bridge on the Roslyn/Salmon La Sac road, which adds 10 miles (about 3 hours). The full 33 miles makes for a good long day in July or August, but the swift current requires little paddling.
This gauge is downstream of the
run and receives flow from a couple
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.
Old mill dam ?
Rapid 3 at 1450 Cfs
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American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
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Kittitas County has released a survey to gather input and data on how people are using the various portions of the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. It also seeks information from participants as to what improvements would be appropriate. The survey is part of an ongoing effort to develop a strategy for improving access along both river corridors. We encourage paddlers who paddle the Cooper, Cle Elum, and Yakima Rivers to take this survey.
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