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- Why Wet Planet
The Farmlands section of the White Salmon River is arguably the most committing, exciting, and spectacular commercial whitewater rafting run in the Pacific Northwest.
And your only chance to see it is with a Wet Planet whitewater rafting trip.
We travel further upstream than any other company. Ten miles north of the Forest Service public put-in for the main section of the White Salmon River, the Farmlands offers continuous class IV-V whitewater rafting in a series of canyons defined by vertical cliff walls and the horizon-lines of stairstepping rapids.
Only available for a short period each season, the Farmlands stretch of the White Salmon River must contain enough water from surrounding aquifers and glacial melt to allow for rafting, without having so much water that the canyon becomes an unmanageable torrent. It’s a narrow window. Every year, Wet Planet exploratory staff members assess the conditions and access to the run, letting eager guests on the waiting list know when it’s good-to-go. This unique rafting trip is filled with technical, steep, committing whitewater.
Although the Farmlands begins with an innocent looking stretch of river, barely wider than a raft, whitewater rafters must be committed once a the trip has entered the canyons. Steep and mossy cliff walls prohibit easy access to anywhere along the river’s banks.
Within the canyons, rafters will find scenery and whitewater adventure unrivaled by other commercial rafting trips. The glacial waters of the White Salmon careen through rapids such as Sidewinder, The Drop Zone, Mini Lava, and Off Ramp. Basalt rock formations tower, seemingly surrounding the river completely, through this steep and narrow riverbed.
The first canyon of the Farmlands provides a good warm-up. Rafters will notice the Pacific Northwest river’s signature logjams pinned between the narrow cliff walls 30 feet overhead as the rafts rocket through a series of class III rapids. After a mandatory portage around Sidewinder rapid, the river briefly exits the canyon as raft guests relax for a brief moment. The next canyon: The Drop Zone.
The Drop Zone can be described as squeezing a raft into a narrow tube, tilting it at a 45 degree angle down and shooting the raft out the other side. The whitewater is fast and non-stop.
Rafters must stay in control in this section to avoid missing the mandatory portage around unraftable Lava Dam Falls, now with additional blockage from fallen trees.
This canyon concludes with a unique multi-tiered ledge drop rapid known as Stephen’s Ledge. As the river exits the Drop Zone, rafters have a chance to recover for a brief period of class II whitewater before the White Salmon drops into the third and final canyon of the Farmlands section.
After another barrage of continuous class IV-V rapids, such as Off Ramp and the Toaster Slot, the trip finally ends with a scramble up the canyon walls to return to the road nearly 100 vertical feet above the river.
Note: Rafters on this trip should be prepared for challenging, committing whitewater and adventurous rock scrambling on the portages.