The White Salmon is the most popular Class III rafting trip in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. It's just over an hour from Portland and about 20 minutes from the town of Hood River. There are several sections of the White Salmon with Class II-V rapids, but most people raft or kayak "the middle" from BZ Corner to Husum Falls.

Featured Outfitter

River DriftersRiver Drifters (800) 972-0430 offers half day trips on the White Salmon River every day from April through October.

The White Salmon is a National Wild and Scenic River that begins on the glaciers of Mt Adams and flows into the Columbia River. You'll love it for the great whitewater, the beautiful forested canyon, and the unique Husum Falls. Husum Falls is the largest commercially run waterfall in the United States and a fun test for kayakers.

There is no internet flow gauge for this river so you just need to show up or find out ahead of time from someone who lives nearby. Most people use the visual foot gauge below Husum Falls. Below 3 feet the river is generally Class III/III+. At higher flows the river has a more Class IV character due to its continuous nature.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at BZ Corner by walking down the boat ramp to Top Drop (III+). You can put in at the bottom of the ramp stairs or go a little bit upstream and run Maytag (IV) the drop above Top Drop.

Rafting Top Drop on the White Salmon River

Rafting Top Drop on the White Salmon River

Mile 0.25: The Cave (III+) has an undercut cave on the right side. Be careful here and be sure to go left. Soon after are Grasshopper (III) and Siwash (III) Rapids.

Kayaking left of The Cave on the White Salmon River

Kayaking left of The Cave on the White Salmon River

Mile 0.8: Corkscrew (III) is a fun rapid (also known as "Granny Scratcher")that comes quickly as the river turns to the right. There is a beautiful waterfall dropping in from the right just downstream.

Rafting Corkscrew Rapid on the White Salmon River

Rafting Corkscrew Rapid on the White Salmon River

Mile 1: Waterspout (III) has a hole on the right and boily water at the bottom. As the river level increases the hole generally gets nastier. The conservative line is on the left.

Waterspout Rapid at 2 Feet on the Husum Gauge

Waterspout Rapid at 2 Feet on the Husum Gauge

Mile 1.2: Barge Wave (III) is full of fun surf waves at lower flows. There is a decent eddy service surf wave at the bottom. The whitewater eases up for the next mile and a half.

Mile 2.8: Stairstep (III+) is series of four distinct drops.

Rafting the first drop at Stairstep Rapid

Rafting the first drop at Stairstep Rapid

Mile 4.5: Husum Falls is a runnable Class V 10' drop over a river-wide ledge. Boaters can choose to take out right above the falls on river right or portage along a trail on the left bank.

Kayaking over Husum Falls

Kayaking over Husum Falls

Mile 4.6: Take-out on the left below Husum Falls or continue downstream for a few miles through the Lower White Salmon to take-out at the old Northwestern Lake boat ramp.

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