When scouting the Chelan Gorge prior to boating or viewing the boaters during the runs, please be respectful of landowners and do not trespass on private property.
The Chelan River, although one of the shortest rivers in the northwest, offers some of the most challenging whitewater boating in the nation. The initial three miles of the Chelan River offer rapids categorized as Class II (novice), however the river then quickly changes to Class V+ (expert) for approximately three-tenths of a mile through the “Gorge” before spilling into the lower reaches of the Chelan River and its confluence with the Columbia River.
The Chelan River is just downstream from the popular recreation destination, Lake Chelan and the water flowing into the Chelan River is regulated by the Lake Chelan Dam, owned and operated by Chelan County PUD under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
In consultation with American Whitewater and based on the three-year whitewater boating monitoring study and paddlers' survey results, Chelan PUD will release flows each year on the 3rd weekend in September. Flows on Saturdays will be 375 cfs, and flows on Sundays will be 400 cfs and the river will be open to paddlers from 10 a.m. until the last boater is off the river, no later then 6 p.m. each day. Participant surveys will be conducted annually and the whitewater boating plan will be evaluated every three years.
All boaters must be at least 18 years of age and are required to pre-register and complete the reservation process. Valid government identification will be required upon arrival. Only non-motorized hard-shelled kayaks or inflatables suitable for Class V whitewater and approved by American Whitewater in consultation with Chelan PUD will be allowed. Public access to this area is limited at all times due to hazardous terrain. Visitors are reminded to adhere to posted restrictions.
2011 Whitewater Boating Monitoring Study
2010 Whitewater Boating Monitoring Study
2009 Whitewater Boating Monitoring Study