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Washington State public lands parking permit.

Starts July 1, 2011.
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Paddling Confluence State Park

The Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers confluence from Badger Mountain.

  1. Put-in
    Launch fees, parking ...

  2. Summaries
    Location, conditions, warnings, paddle route, nature ...

  3. Provisions
    Food, fuel, firewood, WIFI, local information

  4. Accommodations
    Camping, cabins

  5. Additional info
    Rating, disclaimer


Launching at Confluence State Park in Wenatchee Washington is free, if you don't use the boat launch.

There is free parking near the swimming area.

Park and haul the gear a short distance across the grassy picnic area to the swimming area.

The actual launch site can be nice and sandy depending on the river level which goes up and down depending on the season and how much electricity all the hair dryers are sucking up.


May 12, 2011 Paddling Confluence State Park.

Paddling up the dam river.

OK, can you say A BLAST!

Yup, who would of thunk it?

Confluence State Park is located in Central Washington State Chelan County town of Wenatchee. Confluence spans the Wenatchee River where it meets with the Columbia River. The spot is roughly half way between Spokane and the Seattle metro area on the Highway 2 route over Stevens Pass or I-90 via Snoqualmie Pass and Blewett Pass.

Paddle route
The main idea here was to paddle in the Horan Natural Area, but thank my lucky stars and paddling the decision was to head up stream a bit. Heading up the river was just to test the current of the river to see how fast it was really flowing down towards the Pacific Ocean over several dams on the way.

Well, to my surprise there was more of free ride heading north then I would have ever suspected. Turns out if the western shoreline was hugged, much of the route was a giant eddy heading back north trying to reach Canada where it came from.

Not that the entire route north was all that easy. Periodically there were sections that took some short SERIOUS bouts of paddling through intense current. These short episodes of paddling might not be for those faint of paddling strength. If these little hardcore sections can be paddled then there is a big reward on the other side of sitting back and riding towards Rocky Reach Dam in the distance.

Each paddling adventure here or elsewhere are always different. Currents, wind and other stuff need to be taken into account. There is no exception here. While hugging the shoreline the river moves swiftly past boiling and whirlpools abound a short distance to the east.

In the olden days before the dams were built people never went to the rivers to play. Way back there used to be commercial river traffic but people by in large stayed out of the Columbia and didn't use it for recreation or much sport other then fishing. This is one of the Native Americans freeway and fishing grounds. The confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia were rich with fish.

Whitey cam and built dams and slowed the Columbia. The PUD built power parks along the banks. People came and learned to enjoy the river for fun.

Once reaching your limit due to either exhaustion, boredom, time limit, Rocky Reach Dam, currents or yup WIND the ride back can be great if you are careful.

Remember, the river flows fairly fast, boils and has whirlpools and of course WIND.

The paddle ride up and free ride back can be just that, free if you are prepared and know what you are doing and respect the Columbia and any waters you want to enjoy.

NOTE: Cold water kills. Do I need to say more? Oh yes, WIND can happen on the river.

Critter report
Some but not much waterfowl, birds, fish can abound along this route.

Vast expansive river, shoreline and mountain 360 degree views from the water. Inexpensive camping and close proximity to provisions etc make this a good deal for a weekend get away for a person, group or family. Could be a great staycation and savings on gas and other expenses rather then far away destinations where hauling a kayak or canoe is not practical.

Check it out. The Wenatchee area might pleasantly surprise you.


Either bring your own or buy in Wenatchee. On the way into the park there is a grocery and fuel. Fresh tortillas and all the trimmings are available in the shopping complex you will pass before arriving at the park.

Have a good map and navigation to find the park once in the area. It isn't all that well marked. Just continue down hill and hope you see the sign.


Confluence State Park is a good bet for RV and tent style camping. The park is situated in the urban area of Wenatchee. Food and fuel are next door to the north as you drive in and out of the park. 2011 prices are $21.00 standard and $28.00 for electric hookups.

NOTE: This park is not quiet. It is called Confluence because of the rivers that meet here. The water quiet. The roads and trains that form a confluence here are NOT quiet at night.

This is a reservation park. Check with Washington State Parks on securing a place in the sun. This is a VERY popular place for boaters and escapees from the wet side of the Cascades. So plan accordingly. Mid week of course is more open for last minute drop ins.

Don't want to camp? Wenatchee and the surrounding areas have tons of places to rest the body for the night. You should know the drill by now, Google it. :)

For some budget camping, cabins, yurts, RV and hostels, check out Paddle Heaven's map and page of links as well as Paddle Heaven's Camping cabins and more.

Additional Information

Deliverance rating. Fairly safe place to park and launch with people out and about that aren't totally insane like at some launch sites.

Tranquility Ranking
One way to up the tranquility rank besides taking Valium, until a National Day of Silence, no fossil fuel noise, try hearing protection.

This is not the most tranquil site to paddle due to the urban setting and noise.

Wenatchee did it right. The waterfront foot, bike, skate trail on both sides of the Columbia River and the parks system is top notch. LOVELY to say the least. Bring a bicycle or walk the 10 plus mile rout through a Disneyland or greenery, art, nature. The Apple Capital Recreation Trail is a must see. This is a great place for the whole fam damly to spend a weekend biking, walking, camping, swimming, paddling, and to get away from the rain in the Seattle Metro area.

Fishing Reports, Stocking Reports & Fish Counts from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Things your need to know.
Read Me disclaimer, warnings, paddle at your own risk.

Click for Wenatchee, Washington Forecast

See some of the weather conditions in Washington State by viewing Web Cams in diffefrent locaitons before you head out paddling.

View Columbia River in a larger map

Approximate distance from:
Seattle 148 miles.
Everett 123 miles.
Bellingham 133 miles.
Vancouver Canada 377 KM.
Spokane 164 miles.

GPS: 47.46176,-120.32212

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Click to view larger Paddle Heaven a world of flatwater kayak canoe put ins, launch sites and routes..

Region: Columbia River

Overall rating: 5 paddles.

Launch: Free launch in state park swimming area.

Launch rating: 5 paddles.

Parking: Free parking. Boat launch is $7.00 so park at swim area and carry gear a short distance to the water. Washington State public lands parking permit

Miscellaneous Novice with proper gear and some river current and wind skills.

Route Distance: Varies 7 miles more or less.

Highlights: Fun free ride up river and back down.

Warnings: CURENETS, Wind. underwater objects.

Fossil fuel noise levels: 4 on a scale of 0-10. 10 being the loudest.

Facilities: Restrooms near launch. Nice grassy picnic area. Play area for kids. Cell phones work for emergencies and directions on Google etc.

Services: Gas, food and other stuff nearby less then a mile.

Budget accommodations: Tent,Cabin,Hostels,Kayak Camps,RV,Yurt.


Views = 3433

Last Update: 05.22.11 5:08am