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Washington State public lands parking permit.

Starts July 1, 2011.
Supports our parks.

WDFW Public Water Access sites.

Paddling Wanapum Lake Sunland to Crescent Bar

Gargantuan knock your socks off paddling scenery and natural wonders wait for you here.

  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


The Sunland Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife public water access is located in Central Washington State on the Columbia River north of Vantage I-90 crosses the river.

See the map provided on this page for exact location, distance and directions from your starting point.

WDFW or Washington State Discover Permit is required to park and launch at this location. See the logo at the top of this page for the link to get with supporting parks and recreation lands in the State of Washington.

There is a cement boat ramp or to the south or left as you face the river, there is some large gravel like rock to put-in and pull out from.


Paddling Wanapum Lake Sunland to Crescent Bar

This is one of those drum roll please places where the the scenery is gargantuan to say the least. The combinations of grandiosity of the majestic shoreline, expanse of the river, critters and hopefully silence is well worth the gas money from the big Shitty for some serious MBS, Mind Body and Spirit rejuvenation.

This paddling place is in the Central Washington on the Columbia River north of Vantage where Interstate 90 crosses the river at Sunland Estates. If you've checked other pages here at PaddleHeaven.com you know the drill, see the map provide on this page for the detail about where and how to get here.

If you drive over the Ryegrass Pass from the Puget Sound area you will pass through the Wild Horsse Wind Farm. Does that tell you anything about possible wind in the region? Note the wind blows hard over the mountains and sometimes on the river. Just because it is blowing HARD up top the river might be calmer, especially north of puts south of Sunland Estates in the Vantage area.

May 2011
For the hardy paddler this could be a 4 season place to explore. For most people this is a summer time paddle in the heat with the crowds and boaters. For the few that are willing to paddle in spring and fall, this is the time for quiet fewer crowds and drunkards on boats racing all over the place.

Lake Wanapum and the Columbia River have currents as well as underwater hazards to watch out for. This paddling area can have some serious winds. Plan and act accordingly.

Paddle route
Grandiose is one way to describe this paddling area. 13 miles of pure heaven on this route. It would have been all the way to Crescent Bar but panic set in when realizing the wallet was sitting on the front seat of Truckee, the beast that brought the kayak etc to this awesome place.

OK, put-in at the Sunland Estates public water access. Parking permit required. See the logo at the top of this page about the Discover Pass.

Paddle out and around the tip of the community past the homes and the roar of lawn mowers and other fossil fuel. Don't despair, the noise will be left far behind as you paddle and head north.

North up river in the current? Wanapum Lake named after the "The Wanapum tribe of Native Americans formerly lived along the Columbia River from above Priest Rapids down to the mouth of the Snake River" Wikipedia. The reservoir that backs up from behind Wanapum Dam south of Vantage calms the river considerably. There is some slight current. Where there is more river flow more often then not there are eddies along the shoreline that will provide a free lift upstream. So the paddling here if the wind is on your side is AOK. At least if you are in decent shape and experienced enough you could easily make it all the way to Crescent Bar and back with no problem in the same day. But once again there can be wind.

Anyway, there is an island with deer and other critters like beaver that live there. Birds abound along both shorelines and on the island. If your into birding don't forget the binoculars. The Canada Geese and echo off the cliffs.

There is a long stretch of a mile or so with cliffs on the eastern side. There is water run off from the irrigation in the farms above that drips an pours in small streams and waterfalls into the river cooling the air and providing a music to the ears as it tumbles and splatters on the Columbia and rocks dripping sounds on the way down.

Prior to reacing the cliff section on the way up the river, there were people tent camping on one of the manythe rock ledge above the river. Looks like they were having a good time playing hooky from school. Do kids even go to school anymore? Hmmmm

One small cave at water level in May 2011. Remember, water levels go up and they go down here depending on the season and how much electricity is being cranked out at the dam(s) on the river.

On the way back there is a nice cove across from the Gorge Amphitheater that sits high on the bench above the river on the eastern side. There romantic unsanctioned camping sites can be seen beckoning to stay the night or longer.

Across the cove at the base of yet another basalt outcropping is a nice toe warming sand dune that stretches from the mouth of the cove south back towards the put-in that is only a half hour paddle back downstream.

The current going up isn't that big of a deal especially like already typed here they provide a free ride up and the current is pleasant to drift and lightly paddle back to the fossil fuel dinosaur that is waiting for you in the WDFW parking area. That is of course if where you put-in.

There are kiddies flying fighter jets extremely low over the water so carrying some ear protection pays off. Plus if you choose to paddle here more then likely you will come when all the drunks and other druggies are out with boat loads of boobies roaring up and down the lake in the heat of the summer.

It is your choice. Spend time with dorks or come during the off season and or mid week to beat the insanity most people are into.

Coyotes can be heard howling, Canada Geese, Red Winged Black Birds sing, fish jump, island and cliff side deer and many other critters are waiting to great you here.

This paddle adventure starts at the community of Sunland Estates and passes the Quilomene Wildlife Area which is located on the western shore of the Columbia River.

Quilomene Unit at WDFW.


Apparently there is some food in Sunland at Sunland Estates General Store alias Captain Ron's 830 RIVER DRIVE SW, Sunland 509-785-3100 Other places to fetch some grub and gas is the town of George or south to Vantage. Note that Sunland and Vantage are summer only. George has a the junk food quickie marts at the gas stations. There is a grocery store of sorts behind the fuel stations.

No potable water at the launch site.

You know the drill by now. Bring what you need.


There is not camping or other services in Sunland.

Camping can be had at Vantage in town that gets 1.5 thumbs at $21.00 in May 2011 or $31.00 down the road at Wanapum State Park. Wanapum is nice and grassy with no primitive units. There are some other trashy campgrounds in the area. Potholes State Park or Soda Lake in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are only about 50 miles east. Also see paddling Potholes Reservoir and the Channeled Scablands when consider camping and paddling opportunities.

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. Parking seems safe with homes near the put-in plus "normies" use the launch. Drunkard boating during the heat of the summer on and off the water.

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.

Off season and out of sight and sound of Sunland can be tranquil if not fighter jets fly over.

Links of interest.
Bentler.us Flora and fauna east of the Cascades.
Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS)
Washington Trails Association
WDFW nature sites, public water access.
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 Vantage, 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

Cape Horn SE USGS topographic Map.

Approximate distance from:
Seattle 150 miles.
Everett 169 miles.
Wenatchee 53 miles.
Spokane 143 miles.

GPS: 47.06898,-120.02580

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..

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: WDFW parking permit required or Washington State Discover Pass.

Launch rating: 4 paddles.

Parking: WDFW or Washington State Discover permit required. No long term parking. Try Vantage at the campground or other business and paddle north. Washington State public lands parking permit

Miscellaneous River paddling and cold water need to be taken into consideration for safety sake.

Route Distance: 13 miles May 2011 paddle.

Highlights: ***S C E N I c *** Basalt cliffs, wildlife, quiet off season for all you summer only paddlers that love the crowds.

Warnings: River currents, WIND. Sun=heat and sunscreen needs.

Fossil fuel noise levels: 1 on a scale of 0-10. 10 being the loudest.

Facilities: Porta Potty at launch. No potable water. Some cell reception.

Services: NO services. George is about 10 miles.

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


Views = 6848

Last Update: 05.25.11 3:06pm