Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Class 2 Runs Great for Beginners

I've been asked by a lot of folks if "there's any good class 2 in Washington".  For some reason this question always surprises me, because there are lots of quality class 2 runs in the state! 

I created a list to share with people looking for a compilation of class 2 runs in the Seattle area.  I'm sure there's some great stuff on the OP and other parts of Washington I'm not as familiar with, so this list is NOT complete. Please feel free to message me with any ideas.

For more complete lists of rivers and gauges in Washington state check out:

American Whitewater:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

Professor Paddle (rivers tab):  http://professorpaddle.com/

Snoqualmie River 

1. Powerhouse (2/3*)

One of the best spots in the area to take beginners.  It's short, the shuttle is super short, and you can see Snoqualmie Falls in the background.  This can be run at a variety of levels to get your stoke on.  This run is also in year round.

*The first rapid above the put in is class 3 (above the powerhouse building), you have to ferry across the river to river left and attain or hike up to get the the class 3 rapid.  



2. Upper Middle Fork (2)

This section is beautiful and has some really fun rapids.  The scenery is probably my favorite part. The road is also paved so it makes the shuttle much easier on the car.  This run is best around 1500 cfs and above.  Below 1500 cfs the run can be really rocky and easy to discourage new paddlers.

*Some folks also like to add on the section from Concrete Bridge to the Mine Creek take out (Middle Middle put in) in addition to the Upper if they'd like to try some harder rapids without committing to the full Middle Middle run.  I'd consider these additional rapids class 3.  



3. Club Stretch (2)

A great go to. There's a couple different take outs so you can shorten or lengthen the run.  Views of Mt. Si are awesome on this run.



4.  South Fork (2+)

This is a super fun section of river.  The "gorge" section has the most stacked section of rapids.  This can be run at a variety of levels.  You can also hike upstream from the put in a little ways if you want to add a couple rapids to your day.  This run has a tendency to collect wood often, so always be on the lookout.  This run is a step up for folks new to class 2.



Green River 

1. Headworks (2+/3*)

A fantastic little run above the gorge.  Mostly class 2+ with one class 3 known as the Weir.  At the end you can add on the first couple of ledge drops of the main Green gorge if you want to spice it up.  

*The Weir is class 3 and is very similar to an overhead dam if not run down the middle.  You can scout it from a trail on river left just above the drop to pick your best line.



2.  Yo Yo (2)

A very short class 2 section with a few small surf waves.  A great spot for a new kayaker.  The run starts off pretty chill, offering up a great environment for working on peel outs, eddy catching and ferries.  There's a great big eddy towards the top on river left that's great for working on skills.  One you get to the white bridge just past the airfield, the class 2 rapids start.  Take out at Whitney Bridge park.



Cedar River 

Slalom Course (2+)

If you really want to work on your kayaking skills, the Cedar River Slalom section is for you.  This section is short and walkable so you can do laps all day long.  There are also slalom gates at this location.

Check out the upcoming local slalom events with The League of Northwest Whitewater Racers at http://www.nwwhitewater.org/ .  This is a fun and inclusive group!  You can improve your skills on whitewater immensely by honing them in at this little course.  Go check it out!  Or better yet, come do a race!  There's always a hard shell category you can race in with your whitewater kayak.



Cle Elum River (2)

This is a fantastic section of whitewater on the Eastern side of Washington.  The Cle Elum is super fun with some great rapids and a little surf mixed in!  This run has lots of wood, as always keep an eye out. There's a slalom race here every May on the Salmon La Sac section at the top and I highly recommend checking it out. There's also a really nice campground here if you have the whole weekend to enjoy outside. 



Sauk River

Bedal Campground to Whitechuck (2/3)

***Will update later or put on class 3 blog***

Lower Sauk (2) (Clear Creek to Darrington)

(You can put in at Clear Creek or at Bachman Park)

There's a couple really good boulder gardens right off the bat if you put in at Clear Creek, these are great for working on catching eddies.  If you have a very new paddler, Bachman Park is a better put in.  There's fun current to work with, eddies to catch, and general fun to be had.

Skykomish River 

South Fork Skykomish (2) (Beckler River to Money Creek/Baring Bridge)

One of my most favorite class 2 runs in the state because of its beauty!  Lots of fun class 2 rapids, fantastic scenery, and a really fun wave train at Money Creek!  This run can get long for beginners or if it's a really cold day.  You can take out below Money Creek if you want to shorten the run.  Be sure you know where your take outs are, there are some waterfalls downstream of this section.



North Fork Stillaguamish

Hazel to Whitman Bridge (2)

This is a great class 2 run.  Access is roadside at Hazel and the take out at Whitman bridge is easy.  Pretty chill run with fun currents.  There's some great small surfs and boofs to be had if you are looking.  Great run for newer paddler's looking to work on boat control and get time on the river.  I'm sure the scenery is pretty good when it's clear.  You also pass through the Oso Landslide area, so geologically speaking a very interesting thing to see from river level.

Wenatchee River

Icicle Bridge to Enchantment or Waterfront Park or Leavenworth Public Boat Launch (2)

Lots of learning options and sections available here.  You can put in at Icicle bridge and have some good currents and eddies to work with.  The run is pretty chill, but gives beginners a chance to get some first time kayaking adventures under their belt. You'll also see lots of people swimming along the banks and tubing the river along your adventure.  You can take out on river LEFT at Enchantment park beach or continue on and take out on river RIGHT at the Leavenworth Public Boat launch.  The boat launch is also a great place to put in for an attainment work out.  I've paddled from there up past Icicle Creek and up to the golf course and paddled back down. Blackbird Island is also a fun side adventure you can paddle through, just be cautious of wood and swimmers.  You can also continue on and take out a little farther downstream at Waterfront Park.  There's a great curve in the river here that has the biggest rapid on this section. There's a big eddy that's great for working on eddy catching, ferries, s turns, and t rescues.  Take out BEFORE the bridge on river LEFT.  If you continue on you'll end up paddling Boulder Bend which is a longer class 3 rapid. Tubers are NOT recommended to continue past this point.

Cashmere to Columbia River (2)(Cashmere to Wenatchee)

Put in at Cashmere park and float your way down to the Columbia.  There's splashy waves and eddy lines for beginners to get their skills down.  Avoid the fish ladder on river LEFT that's clearly marked with large signs.  The paddle at the end of this run can get long for beginners, keep this in mind when choosing where to take out and if it's windy.

Upper Wenatchee (2) Lake Wenatchee State Park (alt. put ins available) to Tumwater Campground

**Will update later as I've never run this.  19 miles long, but there are alternative put ins.  I've heard it's really really pretty and great for beginners!!!**

White Salmon

Lower White Salmon (2/3*) (Rattlesnake Ledge to Northwestern Lake Park)

(there's no information listed on the run outside of Rattlesnake Ledge at the start)

This is a beautiful and fun section of whitewater for beginners to hone their skills on.  This run is really fun class 2 with some great skills areas and fun boulder gardens.  Cave Wave offers up some awesome surf and there's several surf spots throughout this stretch.  The take out rapid has a nice splashy wave train drop to finish off the day.  There's a secondary beach shortly after the bridge take out on river RIGHT if somebody doesn't make the eddy.  This is the last take out before you're committed to the Lower Lower section (which is also beautiful!).  The water on the White Salmon is always VERY cold, even on 100 degree days, so dress accordingly.

*Rattlesnake ledge is an option class 3 drop that can be run or put in below.  There's a good recovery area after Rattlesnake if there's a swimmer.  

*Whitewater kayaking can be dangerous.   Please educate yourselves on the river, levels, and difficulty prior to getting on any whitewater river run.  Always wear your helmet and PFD.  Remember to always have fun on the river and be sure to look around at the beauty that surrounds us.*

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