River Trails Section 5


Rocky Reach Dam to Rock Island Dam

(Section 5)



Length of this water section: 20 miles
Lake formed behind Rock Island Dam: Rock Island Pool
Dams completed: Rocky Reach - 1961; Rock Island - 1933


Landscape: This section is home to Wenatchee - the first metro area on the Columbia River heading downstream from the north. As such, the shoreline and adjacent lands are home to waterfront parks, homes and commercial development, although that lessens significantly approaching Rock Island Dam.

Put in: Wenatchee Confluence State Park. (Note: The WenatcheeOutdoors.org website says paddlers also can put in just below Rocky Reach Dam at a spot where remnants of a boat launch exist. Access point is via a dirt road about 200 yards south of the dam entrance on the west shore.)

Take out: Rock Island Hydro Park. (Note: The Chelan County PUD has a policy of not providing portage around its dams and Rock Island Dam is one of them. Also, the WenatcheeOutdoors.org website says paddlers can take out on the east shore just upriver from the dam near Rock Island Creek.)

Elevation drop: From 707 to 613 feet above sea level
Water character: Flat

Navigation tips: The wind is a frequent visitor to the Wenatchee area and the water can get choppy quickly. During the warm weather months (April through September), the waterway is frequented by numerous power boats.

If you are looking for an interesting side paddle, check out the canals in the Horan Wildlife Area, located on the west side of the river between Wenatchee Confluence State Park and Walla Walla Point Park. The area is home to numerous bird species, including bald eagles, osprey and herons.

Navigation links: Wind conditions | River flow Link 1 - Link 2Two having fun

Paddler on-river facilities (north to south on river):
(Note: You will find plenty of services, including restaurants and stores within easy walking distance of the facilities listed below. The Orondo Boat Launch, in fact, is just a couple blocks from downtown Wenatchee and is adjacent to the Pybus Public Market.)

  • Wenatchee Confluence State Park (Mile 13 west shore): Campground, RVs, dock, toilet, store nearby
  • Walla Walla Point Park, Wenatchee (Mile 12, west shore): Dock, toilet
  • Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club Boathouse, Wenatchee (Mile 11, west shore): Dock, toilet
  • Orondo Avenue Boat Launch, Wenatchee (Mile 10, west shore): Dock, toilet
  • Kirby Billingsley Hydro Park (Mile 7, east shore): Dock, toilet

Places to eat/drink: The Wenatchee area is the regional hub of North Central Washington so finding eating and drinking establishments is no problem if you have a vehicle. History Boat buildingIf not, food is within walking distance of both Wenatchee Confluence State Park, the Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club boathouse and the Orondo Avenue Boat Launch.

Other lodging: The Wenatchee area is home to about 75,000 people, so there are ample hotel options. Visit the Wenatchee Valley Visitor Bureau’s website for more info: http://www.wenatcheevalley.org

If you have a vehicle: A drive up the Wenatchee Valley to the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth (20 miles away) is always an interesting trip. Along the way, as you follow the Wenatchee River west, you’ll notice the foothills becoming more forested and orchards and vineyards carpeting the valley floor.

Links of interest: Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club | Rock Island Dam | City of Wenatchee | City of East Wenatchee | Wenatchee Downtown Association | Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau | Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce | Walla Walla Point Park | Wenatchee Confluence State Park | Rocky Reach | Lincoln Rock State Park | City of Entiat

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