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Wenatchee    3. Tumwater Canyon™ ©
Class IV-V
Avg Gradient 65 fpm
Play Rating (1-10): 4
River Mapplet
Put In Longitude : -120.73047 Putin
Put In Latitude : 47.6537675
Take Out Longitude : -120.6844 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 47.5869
County : Chelan Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from WENATCHEE RIVER AT PESHASTIN, at 7/14/2024 12:35:58 PM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
WENATCHEE RIVER AT PESHASTIN, NWRFC | FC Page 3.57  2000 cfs  USGS - NWIS 07-14-2024 12:15:00
Minimum Recomended Level:  900 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  5000 cfs 


You can put on or take out pretty much all along HWY 2 at various pull outs

  Putin Details

Most kayakers put in at a large shady pull-out approximately a quarter mile upstream of "The Wall." The Wall is located at mile marker 94, just upstream of the lake and the fudge shop. Another common put in is just below the dam.

  Takeout Details

Driving upstream from Leavenworth, "Last Exit" is the rapid that churns out into view. It is generally considered the end of Tumwater Canyon and the most difficult of its rapids. Most people take out above "Last Exit". You can also take out above "P.O.W." at the Red Bridge.

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World Kayak Race: Tumwater Chaos Challenge:Events

Features on this run

Feature Name Class
The Wall IV-V
The Dam Rapid IV-V
Three Amigos IV-V-
Chaos Cascade IV-V
Perfection Of Whitewater (POW) V-V+
Last Exit V+-VI
Add a Feature | Re-Order Features

  Fun Facts

If an online gauge is unavailable upon arrival, A visual gauge has been established. Pink Stripes are painted on the concrete structure at the bottom-right side of Exit Rapid. The Top Stripe is about 2K cfs(wet line,not water line). The Middle Line is around 1550 cfs. The Bottom Line is just below 1K. These CFS levels are from the Peshastin Gauge, which really is pretty lame since Icicle adds a significant volume below Tumwater. Going off of the Plain guage gives you a more accurate idea of how much water is in Tumwater Canyon.

At flows between 1000-2000 this run is a great stepping stone for boaters who want to advance beyond class IV water. The rapids are long and still have a big feel, yet plenty of greenwater pools and eddies dot the riverscape between the large boulders. The channels are deep and wide. The lines are challenging enough to be fun for class V boaters, yet not so consequential as other, mankier class IV runs. A good place to get to know your creekboat with lots of quality boofs.

   Run Description [Season: Winter and Summer]

Tumwater Canyon is a unique resource for Washington paddlers providing big water class V in early summer and fun class IV-V after other nearby runs are too low. This same class IV-V flavor can also be sampled throughout the winter and early spring months when little else is running.

The classic run begins a few hundred yards above The Wall, aka Quarter Mile, and ends at Last Exit. There are four class V drops at all but the lowest of flows; The Wall, Chaos, P.O.W., Last Exit... and a half dozen or more IV-ish drops mixed in with all the flat water. Tumwater should be considered a class V run above 1600 cfs and 'big water' V above 2500.

Many paddlers get their first glimpse of this run during the peak of spring snow melt on trips over to the Wenatchee. At these flows the river is a chaotic maze of exploding holes and although it is sometimes run at these levels, most boaters wait for later in the summer once other options are starting to dry up. Itís a great place to be in the middle of the summer and youíll be sharing the river with sunbathers and folks swimming in the big pools between the rapids. This river runs right along Highway 2 so itís easy to scout all the big drops from the highway. Donít forget that they are much bigger down at water level than they look from the road. If you find yourself in over your head itís always easy to hike out to the road.

From the Swiftwater Picnic Area the river starts out with some good class III warm up rapids. The action slowly builds with intermittent sections of flatwater and easy rapids as you reach The Wall which can be viewed from the road at mile 94. There are a few different lines through this drop and for the most part you just follow theain flow and treat it as read and run. Itís a technical class IV+ boulder garden at lower flows and every bit of class V at higher flows. The run out diminishes to class IV, then class III as it continues down to the small reservoir formed by the old hydroelectric dam.

The dam was built to provide hydropower required to run the electric engines the railroad used through the tunnel at Stevenís Pass. The generators have since been removed although the dam itself remains. There are a couple cabins on this reservoir and itís about a 5 minute flatwater paddle to the portage route on river left around the dam.

Put-in at the base of the dam on river left and the action starts right away with a long rapid. Its straight forward at low water, and explosive when levels are high (above 5,00).

After The Dam Rapid are the "Three Amigos", three lesser rapids. The first of these is an island with routes around the right or left. Just be aware of the holes in either route, depending on flows. This is followed by a simple wide open rapid (run center-left). The last of this trio bends to the left. There are large boulders packed into the corner on R.Right.

A short bit of flatwater slowly feeds into Chaos Cascade. This is a great rapid and one of the longest pieces of whitewater on the run. Itís class V at higher flows and class IV at lower flows. You can scout it from the road at mile 97, or you can pull out on river right to get a good look at the entrance move. BIG HOLES blockade the end of this rapid, and continuous boogie water leads into a boulder strewn rapid above the Iron Bridge where the pipeline from the diversion dam crosses the river to the old generator site. Take out here if you are not up for Class V P.O.W.

Perfection of Whitewater (P.O.W.) is a class V at low to moderate flows. Add some H2O and you have a stout, complex, powerful class V+. It can be viewed at mile 97.9. Although the rapids up to this point can be boat scouted fairly easily at moderate flows, itís not a bad idea to get out and have a look at this one from river left. The crux move requires avoiding a hole right at the start and then youíve got a couple options to negotiate the rest of the rapid. At higher flows there is a sneak along the left but it gets pretty boney once flows start to drop later in the summer. There are always several ass kick'n holes in here, so watch yourself, cowboy.

After POW the pace tapers off a bit and you pass through a short section where the river spreads out over braided gravel bars. The next big horizon line is Last Exit. This V+ drop can be viewed from mile 98.5 on Highway 2. The most dramatic view is from the highway as you are headed west up the canyon. Itís the first big gnarly rapid you see as you leave the town of Leavenworth. Many folks portage this drop but it is regularly run. Just be sure to scout it carefully from multiple perspectives and pick your line. The portage is along river left. Hike up to the highway and then back down to the base of the rapid. Some take-out here but the rapids continue on downstream to the Icicle Creek Road bridge. Cabins start to appear on river left and the river bends to the right leaving Highway 2 but there is just under a mile or so of fun class III-IV-.


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Beta Trail    
SubmissionBeta Submitted BySubmitted On
Sam_Graftton's 5/7/2013 Run SubmissionSam_Graftton5/7/2013 10:23:00 AM
jP's 4/7/2013 Run SubmissionjP4/7/2013 10:33:00 PM
jP's 4/7/2013 Run SubmissionjP4/7/2013 9:45:00 PM
jP's 3/11/2013 Run SubmissionjP3/11/2013 11:29:00 PM
jP's 3/11/2013 Run SubmissionjP3/11/2013 11:22:00 PM
jP's 3/11/2013 Run SubmissionjP3/11/2013 11:04:00 PM
water wacko's 8/17/2012 Run Submissionwater wacko8/17/2012 11:55:00 AM
James's 4/2/2012 Run SubmissionJames4/2/2012 1:50:00 PM
kurle's 11/25/2010 Run Submissionkurle11/25/2010 3:48:00 PM
Shlebco's 11/28/2008 Run SubmissionShlebco11/28/2008 10:27:00 AM

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