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Starts July 1, 2011.
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Paddling Horan Natural Area Confluence State Park

  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.

The put-in above is on the north side of the Wenatchee River. For people that are not not accustomed to river currents and paddling this is better choice to explore the northern side of the river and Horan Natural Area.

There are places south of the Wenatchee River in the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail and park system on the western shoreline more suitable for exploring some of the natural area on the south side of the Wenatchee River.

The Walla Walla Point Park has a parking and area to put-in to avoid crossing the Wenatchee and getting caught and not having the strength to paddle back.

See the map provided on this web page for the possible put-in locations.

Either put-in has free parking and free put-ins if you don't use the boat ramp. Put-in elsewhere in the sand and gravel.


May 12, 2011

Paddling Horan Natural Area Confluence State Park

Horan Natural Area is located at in the Confluence Washington State Park in Central Washington Chelan County community of Wenatchee. The confluence is that of the Wenatchee River and Columbia Rivers. Where the two rivers join is an estuary teeming with life.

Conditions here are somewhat more protected from wind. But, the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers both have some serious currents.

The north side of the route pictured in the Google Map on this page is calmer. Crossing the Wenatchee to the south may not be all that big of a deal. Getting back for some could be a problem. Plus the route that is shown here follows a course with some serious flow south alongside the Columbia through the natural area. Coming back up on the Columbia River side there is more current to deal with.


COLD WATER KILLS or I should say hypothermia kills. Wear a wetsuit or drysuit or you will be sorry someday. I was very happy I invested in a dry suit many times and this trip it was a LIFE SAVER!

CURRENTS sweepers and submerged objects like rocks, stumps, you name it. Sweepers can be dangerous. This particular paddle was a real learning experience if not life threatening. Paddling up the Columbia back to the pull out, getting too close to a sweeper in the current trapped and overturned the kayak. The only thing lost were binoculars. Lucky for me it was not my life.

I paddled too close to the sweeper and did not have the strength to paddle past. The current forced the kayak side ways. Slowly but surely I could see there was a potential disaster developing. The branches of the old dead tree trapped the kayak and myself. I had not alternative but to wet exit and hope for the best.

I was able to remain with the upside down kayak and swim with it in my drysuit. Ever so slowly all the while rapidly floating downstream I was able to finally push it to shore. There I was able to get the water out. Staying dry and warm, I could push off and retrieve some gear floating down stream. Found my shoe and was off back to the pull out. This time paddling well out into the main body of the Columbia away from any debris.

Paddle route
The route taken started at the swimming area in Confluence State Park. It is the same location where a paddle adventure started north for the Rocky Reach Dam area.

The Horan Natural Area can be approached from several ways depending on skill levels.

The north side of the Wenatchee is best explored from the Confluence put-in.

The south side of the natural area can be explored from the Walla Walla Point Park put-in.

By splitting the paddle into two parts the current of the Wenatchee can be avoided in the main stream.

The south side estuary route shown in the map here has some serious current, at least during the May 12, 2011 exploration.

Note the river levels go up and down with the seasons. The Wenatchee can be get extremely high during spring melt and isn't the best time to be in the river or estuary region.

This is what Horan is all about. Birds abound here. Deer and other mammals can be seen at times. Flora was lovely in the spring time sunshine during this May 2011 paddle.


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.

Crazy meter is very low in this area the Confluence and Loop parks aren't filled with whackos. How refreshing. :)

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.

The natural area is calming if you can deal with some swift waters.
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..

Region: Columbia River

Launch: Free at either Confluence State Park or Walla Walla Point swimming hole.

Parking: Free parking. Whoppeee Washington State public lands parking permit

Miscellaneous Novice and up under certain circumstances with some proper cold water gear and skills with river currents.

Route Distance: 3 plus miles.

Highlights: Wildlife flora and fauna, quieter, scenic mountains.


Fossil fuel noise levels: 2 on a scale of 0-10. 10 being the loudest.

Facilities: Restrooms near launches. Cells work for emergencies. H20 in park for drinking.

Services: In town services abound.

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


Views = 3667

Last Update: 05.22.11 5:10am