Have you ever been whitewater rafting? Leavenworth Washington is one of the most popular places in all of Washington State to experience this one-of-a-kind adventure due to its ease of accessibility and the typically sunny warm weather throughout the spring and summer months. Leavenworth is located in the center of the state on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, right along Highway 2, and every spring when the snow in the mountains starts to melt the rivers in the area begin to swell. The Wenatchee River, which runs right through Leavenworth, begins at Lake Wenatchee and winds its way through the foothills and into the valley where it eventually empties into the Columbia River in Wenatchee.
Between the towns of Leavenworth and Cashmere you’ll find the most popular 14 mile stretch of the Wenatchee River which boasts thrilling class 3-4 whitewater every spring, usually in May and June, and attracts groups of friends, families, and work parties from all around the state and the country who want to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. Not only are the waves great, the scenic views are hard to beat too! The mountainous forested landscape in Leavenworth gives way to apple and pear orchards, rocky sandstone spires, and sage grass-covered hillsides as you leave the Cascade foothills and enter the more arid, agriculture-rich eastern part of the state.
Blast through rapids with names such as Cupcake, Boulder Bend, Rock and Roll, and Snowblind as you and your crew paddle your way to whitewater victory. There are multiple Whitewater Rafting Companies that offer guided trips down the Wenatchee River and provide everything you need to have a fun and memorable time on the water. While the rivers in the area are a top attraction, visitors should keep in mind that these are wild rivers which come with varying natural hazards and conditions can change rapidly. The local guide services know these rivers best since they spend time on them daily and therefore stay up to date on current conditions to help all their guests have the best time possible.
Later in the summer, usually around July and August, the water levels have decreased which has several effects on the whitewater trips. With less water in the rivers, the waves aren’t quite as large, though there are still plenty of opportunities for big splashes and exciting rides. The trips also tend to last a little longer since the water isn’t flowing as quickly, which sometimes presents extra opportunities to cool off by floating alongside the raft in calmer sections of the river and more time to enjoy the scenery. Middle to late summer is also more suitable for smaller children and people who may have less experience around water, or those who may feel really intimidated by the thought of class 3-4 whitewater.
Enjoy this video of whitewater rafting the Wenatchee River in spring to get a taste of the action!
It’s best to book your whitewater rafting trip ahead of time. While there are several local companies that support walk-ins, it’s one of the most popular activities in the area and trips fill up quickly, especially on hot summer days.
Check out our directory of rafting companies that provide guided rafting trips in the Leavenworth area.