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Cle Elum    1 - China Gorge (Scatter Creek to Salmon La Sac Creek)™ ©
Class IV-V
Avg Gradient 111 fpm

River Mapplet
Put In Longitude : -121.04993 Putin
Put In Latitude : 47.486585
Take Out Longitude : -121.09723 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 47.40352
County : Kittitas Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from Cle Elum Reservoir Inflow at 8/6/2016 6:20:21 PM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
Cle Elum Reservoir Inflow NWRFC | FC Page 0  314 cfs  US Bureau of Reclamation 6-AUG-2016 07:45:11
Minimum Recomended Level:  1500 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  3500 cfs 


This run although remote at parts, is completely roadside for the Take out and Putin. General area can be found by heading out to Roslyn and continuing through until you are up at the Cle Elum Resevoir.

Although it is roadside it would not be an easy hike out

Thanks to a new gauge updating process with new support written by yep... me, we have a new online gauge with the Cle Elum. Wahoo!

  Putin Details

To reach the put-in drive back across the bridge and turn left up the hill on FR 4330. As soon as you make the left Zero your odometer. 5.7 Miles up the road is the standard put in at Triple Drop. 1.5 Miles up the road is a shorter Run put in down spur road 134 access to the Davis Peak trailhead. This road is just after the crossing of Paris Creek. Northwest Forest pass is required for use of this short putin area.

  Takeout Details

Head out to Mile 21 on Salmon La Sac Road, Cross the one lane bridge and park on the River Right just before the Salmon La Sac Campground. The Take out is a small sandy beach just above the bridge on river right.

 River Alerts   ( Add Alert ) Pinned Forum Threads
 wood about a 1/4 mile above s-turn. DUck under it on river left. - Posted by: outdoorjunkie88 on 5/18/2016 8:20:00 AM -  [Remove Alert]

 Wood on the last rapid, tough to see. Catch an eddy far left and sneak by the wood. - Posted by: outdoorjunkie88 on 5/18/2016 8:21:00 AM -  [Remove Alert]

 Wood at the entrance of s-turn. Easy to see and easy to get around it on the river left. Or you can eddy out just above it on the right and carry your boat over the log. - Posted by: outdoorjunkie88 on 5/18/2016 8:30:00 AM -  [Remove Alert]

There are no forum threads pinned to this run.

Features on this run

Feature Name Class
Triple Drop V
Another Flume IV
S-Turn V
Waptus Hole IV
China Falls V
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  Other Issues

[GAUGE DETAILS: The data for this gauge is supplied from the USBR in this document (]

  Fun Facts

Astonishing Scenery in a fun and continous gorge. Great Run to hit on the way back home from the wenatchee.

   Run Description [Season: Spring]

The China Gorge run has quickly made its way to the top of my favorites list. The only thing better then the view is the whitewater. With plenty of ledges, rapids, boulder gardens and even full water falls this run is a certain classic.

The run starts out with Triple Drop a solid Class V set of ledges which start you into the gorge. After triple drop you will pass through a good amount ( few miles ) of fun III-IV before arriving at S-Turn the Crux of the run.

Another Flume: half way down the fun class III-IV you will come to a large eddy on the left and then a narrow constriction with a blind horizon line. It is noticeably steeper than the fun read and run. It is worth taking a look at, you will want to good boof off of it. AT 3000 cfs part of the river was flowing over the rock on the river right. This is a nice slide into a mellow eddy. It would make a nice line if you don't want to run the meat.

S-Turn is set in the heart of "China Gorge". You'll see the walls close in on you well before you get to it, as you paddle through a few class III-IV rapids. Watch out for wood. S-Turn itself can sneak up on you in the midst of some busy class IV, so be on guard. You'll want to scout S-Turn on the R. Right. It may be worth taking the extra time for a quick rim scout, because the exit of S-Turn can be clogged with wood.

After S-Turn there is a good 1/2 mile of great read and run class IV ledges and boulder gardens which taper down just before China Falls.

Before China Falls there is a small foot bridge that crosses the river. You can reach this foot bridge by driving up FR4330 until you see the Davis Trail Head. Drive down as far as you can go and there is a trail down to the river. This is a great putin to run the falls and the lower stretch which is class II-III+

*** Above the falls, but below the pack bridge, there is a Very large hole that spans 90% of the river from the left bank. This is Waptus hole and occurs where the Waptus has its confluence with the Cle Elum (Waptus enters from River Right). Waptus hole is a rather meaty beast that has served up boaters from across the nation, primarily family R2 teams and OHIO TURKEYS that loose gear and don't replace it. So I guess it was pre-destined KARMA. But none the less be on your toes after the pack bridge until you get around Waptus hole (sneak it to the right)and the confluence with the Waptus. ***

The last rapid worthy of mention is a fun, busy IV- or III+ depending on how many sand bags you tend to lug around with you. Anyway, as of 2010 it has a leaning log plugging up half of the already narrow exit of this rapid. There is plenty of room to go under it along the right, but be careful because current tends to push left here. One paddler made a simple mistake and flipped above it, and the current shoved him right into the wood on the left. A solid wood bridge above the hazard provided a convienient way to get to him and help him out of his boat without the use of ropes, ect. Aside form this tight squeeze the rest of this lower strtch provides some deepwater clean class III+ rapids! Enjoy!


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Trip NameTrip Date
Trip Report TitleDate
Pumpin the China5/27/2007

Beta Trail    
SubmissionBeta Submitted BySubmitted On
outdoorjunkie88's 5/18/2016 Run Submissionoutdoorjunkie885/18/2016 8:41:00 AM
James's 4/9/2007 Run SubmissionJames4/9/2007 8:26:00 PM

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