The trip down stream was pleasant. Some of the party crossed from side to side to get a closer look at things but for the most part we stayed on the west side of the river before Wenatchee and crossed over after the bridge near the south part of town. This set us up for the stop at Hydro Park on the east side of the river.
The most interesting part of the outing was exploring the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers. We poked in and out of the channels and would have liked more time for exploring. Additionally, we saw quite a few water fowl with their younglings.
Nearest Town: Wenatchee
Skill Level: 1
Fitness Level: 2+
Distance: About 19 miles, roughly 6 hours. Breakdown of the mileage: Rocky Reach Dam boat ramp to Confluence State Park is about 5 river miles; Confluence to Hydro Park is 7 river miles; and Hydro Park to Rock Island Creek near Rock Island Dam is 7 river miles; 19 miles total.
Head north on Highway 97A toward Rocky Reach Dam. The road to the launch site can be found 200 yards south of the dam entrance. Look for a railroad track crossing and an opening in the chain link fence. The road down to the water is rough but easily negotiated. You will find the remnants of a boat ramp and a small sandy beach.
Follow Highway 28 south out of East Wenatchee. Just north of the entrance to the Rock Island Dam the highway crosses Rock Island Creek. Cross the bridge over the creek and look for parking on the right (west) side of the road. From there, you can walk under the railroad trestle to reach the river’s edge. The river here is flat with no current.
–The Columbia River flow is around 5 m.p.h. at Rocky Reach dam and 1 m.p.h. as you get close to Rock Island dam.
–Possible stops along the way: We put in at about 11:15, and our first stop was at the north side of Confluence State Park for brief break. Our next stop was longer at the floating dock by the HQ of the paddle club and our third stop was a brief bathroom break at Hydro Park. As a result of the late start and the extra stops, we pulled the boats out around 5 pm.
–Our group really enjoyed this outing. If we were to do it again, we’d figure out a way to portage Rock Island Dam and make an overnight trip out of it with an eventual take out at Vantage.
Wind. Wind can play a big role in your enjoyment of the day and the pace you make. Afternoon upstream winds are common on the river. For info on the actual and forecasted winds, check this link at iwindsurf.com
Trip Reporter: Bruce Farrar, 6/7/08; Tom Feil.
John Zanol 7/18/18- I helped a guy portage around Rock Island Dam as part of his kayaking the entire length of the Columbia this summer. We tried to use the takeout at Rock Island Creek as described in the guidebook (paddling-flatwater). Anyway, that takeout is unusable. The woods are impenetrable. We ended up going down to the dam and begging security to let me in to pick up the kayak. The next closest obvious takeout is way back at the Hydropark, so you’re giving up a lot of the river.
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse old fire rings, throw branches over unwanted spur trails…
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