Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

White Salmon River, Washington

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Managing Agency:

U.S. Forest Service, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Designated Reach:

November 17, 1986. From its confluence with Gilmer Creek, near the town of B Z Corner, to its confluence with Buck Creek.

August 2, 2005. White Salmon River from its headwaters to the boundary of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Cascade Creek from its headwaters to its confluence with the White Salmon River. This designation is not contiguous with the 1986 designation farther downstream.


Wild — 6.7; Scenic — 21.0 miles; Total — 27.7 miles.

White Salmon River

The White Salmon River is located in south-central Washington and its watershed is approximately 400-square miles. Churning rapids and unique beauty draw visitors to the clear, blue White Salmon River. Glacial waters combine with cold, clear springs, supporting a lush, green ribbon of plant life through the dry, pine-oak woodlands. Continuous rapids, waterfalls, and abrupt drops challenge boaters of advanced skill.

Lower River: Numerous seeps and springs found along the canyon walls provide a consistently cold and sustained flow of water year around. The river drops 50 feet per mile. The five outstandingly remarkable values are whitewater boating (one of the few rivers in the region that has Class III rapids located in a natural setting runnable nearly year-round), the White Salmon River Gorge (the longest vertical wall gorge in the region noteworthy due to its natural character, bedrock geology, caves and numerous falls and springs), hydrology (sustained flows and waterfalls), resident fish (one of the three best resident rainbow trout fisheries in the region) and a Native American Indian longhouse site and cemetery.

Only 10 commercial outfitters are issued special use permits on the White Salmon. They offer whitewater rafting and kayaking trips. Trip documentation cards are filled out at the site by commercial and private trips to track use patterns; this provides documentation so improvements based on user needs can be planned. The put-in at BZ Corners was improved fall 2006 and provides parking, accessible restrooms with changing facilities, sinks and flush toilets (one vault toilet is open during winter months with no running water) and a host site. It is a day-use site (no overnight parking or camping). There are currently no fees charged to park or put in. A rail system is used to slide boats down to the water (cat-a-rafts find it easiest to use PVC pipe between the rail and their boat). Metal stairs at the river's edge are raised during high water. Stone steps are located just down river; use them when metal stairs are up during high water. There are no fees at this is a day-use area.