The rivers of the central Cascades support many rafting outfitters, but the Wenatchee is easily the most popular river in the state. Above Leavenworth, the Wenatchee drops through rugged Tumwater Canyon, with several class VI stretches before calming down to more manageable class III rapids below town. Leavenworth is the most common put-in point, and white-water trips cover 16–24 miles.
Conditions change through the year; high spring runoff creates excellent white-water conditions from April to mid-July (and often longer). Gentler float trips begin at Lake Wenatchee and cover the stretch of easy water before the river enters Tumwater Canyon near Tumwater Campground (the take-out point). These are especially popular when flow levels drop during August and September.
Inner tubers often float down slower parts of the Icicle and Wenatchee Rivers to Blackbird Island near Leavenworth’s Waterfront Park. Rent inner tubes at Leavenworth Sports Center (940 Hwy. 2, 509/548-7864), next to the Chevron station, or rent kayaks and canoes at Lake Wenatchee from Osprey Rafting (800/743-6269) or Leavenworth Outfitters (509/763-3733 or 800/347-7934).
For half-day rafting excursions, expect to pay $50 for white-water trips or scenic float trips. Most companies include guides, wet suits, booties, meals, and shuttle bus service. Contact one of the following companies for more information, or look for their brochures in the visitors center: All Rivers Adventures (800/743-5628, www.alladventuresrafting.com), Blue Sky Outfitters (800/228-7238, www.blueskyoutfitters.com), Leavenworth Outfitters (800/347-7934, www.leavenworthoutfitters.com), and Orion River Expeditions (800/553-7466, http://orionexp.com).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition