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Difficulty I
Length 139 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 02/27/2011 6:50 am

River Description

Congress authorized construction of the four dams on the Lower Snake River in 1945 and during the time period 1955 to 1975 the Army Corps of Engineers constructed Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite. The Corps documents 63 named rapids that were in existence prior to construction of these dams. Lewis and Clark encountered these rapids on their journey down the river in October 1805. Removing the dams would open up new opportunities for kayaking and rafting along 140 miles of restored river and would attract visitors from across the country.

In February 2002, the US Army Corps of Engineers released the Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement that includes a review of the economics of dam removal. In a study of potential river users, and not including recreational fishing, results showed that a large percentage of total general recreation visitation to a free flowing lower Snake River would originate from distant areas resulting in an annual contribution of $310.5 million (1998 dollars). The study found that current reservoirs are primarily local-use areas with visitors coming from 100 to 120 miles away. Reservoir users do not travel long distances as there are numerous reservoirs in the local area, including Lake Wallula downstream from Ice Harbor Dam very near the Tri-Cities area, Dworshak reservoir near Lewiston, Idaho, and three large lakes near Spokane, Washington. Those desiring a river- based recreation experience in contrast are willing to travel greater distances to visit free-flowing rivers. Demand for paddlesports would be for over 300,000 user days following dam removal.

The named rapids identified by the Army Corps of Engineers include the following:
Upper Grande Ronde Rapids
Lower Grande Ronde Rapids
Upper Lewis Rapids
Lower Lewis Rapids
Upper Billy Creek Rapids
Lower Billy Creek Rapids
Captain John Rapids
Upper Buffalo Rapids
Lower Buffalo Rapids
Couse Rapids
Ten Mile Rapids
Upper Asotin Rapids
Lower Asotin Rapids
Upper Swallows Nest Rapids
Lower Swallows Nest Rapids
Slaughterhouse Rapids
Clarkson Rapids
Dead March Rapids
Dry Gulch Rapids
Alpowa Rapids
Steptoe Rapids
Little Pine Tree Rapids
Tramway Rapids
Upper Kelley Rapids
Kelley's Island Rapids
Truax Rapids
Granite Point Rapids
Ofields Rapids Rapids
Log Cabin Rapids
Almota Dead March Rapids
Ilia Rapids
Lower Ilia Rapids
Wades Rapids
Penawawa Rapids
Willow Rapids
Deadman Bar Rapids
New York Bar Rapids
Upper Goose Island Rapids
Little Goose Rapids
Upper Riparia Rapids
Texas Rapids
Hunters Rapids
Palouse Rapids
Steamboat Bend Rapids
Skiff Bar Rapids
False Palouse Rapids
Gorse Dread Rapids
Monumental Rapids
Haunted House Rapids
Matthews Rapids
Pine Tree Rapids
Rescue Island Rapids
Couch Island Rapids
Simmons Rapids
Copleys Cutoff Rapids
Anchor Rapids
Page Rapids
Three Island Rapids
Gage Island Rapids
Five Mile Rapids
Perrine's Defeat Rapids
Strawberry Island Rapids
No. 1 Rapids

Additional Information

Rapid Descriptions


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Bill Erickson
13 years ago

The Snake River along this section is the shadow of the river it once was. I will gladly pick up a shovel and help them remove the 4 Lower Snake River Dams, if we can have a free flowing Lower Snake. This would be an incredible multi-day float trip and can only hope that I am able to see it as the salmon used to. Please check out SOS's website, get involved and bring the salmon and the Snake River back.

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Washington Dams With Fishery or Recreation Issues

Thomas O'Keefe

Several dams in Washington State have known issues impacting fishery resources or river-based recreation. Some represent partial or complete barriers to fish passage that should be addressed; additionally impacts to geomorphology degrade habitat for fishery resources at many of these dams. In other cases the primary impact of the dam is on river-based recreation where the dam represents a hazard to navigation or public safety. Some of these dams may be candidates for removal while others could be modified to eliminate or reduce impacts. Several successful dam removals are also included in this story map.

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Public Process for Snake River Dams Underway

Thomas O'Keefe

Public Scoping Hearings have been scheduled this fall in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to discuss the fate of Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon resources in the Snake River Watershed. We are encouraging the paddling community to engage in this public process which has implications for the overall health of the Snake River ecosystem and tributaries like the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon River.


Matt Muir


Thomas O'Keefe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194562 03/29/07 n/a n/a
1199370 02/27/11 Thomas O'Keefe copy edit