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4 Best Places to Whitewater Raft Near Seattle

A group of whitewater rafters on a tour with River Recreation

Seattle may be known for coffee and tech, and maybe also for its rainy weather, but that’s certainly not all it has to offer. The areas around Seattle have some of the best whitewater rafting experiences in the country. Whether you have dozens of whitewater trips under your belt or it’s your first time venturing out, our rivers in Seattle have something for everyone. Below are a few of the best places for whitewater rafting near Seattle.

Wenatchee River

When it comes to whitewater rafting in Washington State, the Wenatchee River is one of the most popular destinations, especially during the spring and early summer. The Wenatchee River is only a two-hour drive from Seattle, making it perfect for a day trip with friends or family, and it offers a perfect blend of exhilarating rapids and calm stretches of water. That means it can be considered as an option for both experienced rafters and families looking to enjoy a calm day on the water.

If you’re looking for a calm experience on the Wenatchee, you’ll want to stick with the Lower Wenatchee, where you can enjoy orchards, historic landmarks, and plenty of fun swimming spots. For a more exciting trip, aim a little farther north. During the spring, these rapids are at their most difficult, while during the summer, the water drops enough for most beginner rafters to handle.

Methow River

The Methow is a little farther from Seattle, but the drive is absolutely worth it for those who want a real thrill. The rapids on the Methow River range from moderate to challenging, as it drops in altitude more than 500 feet over the course of 19 miles. If you have some rafting experience or if you’re new but want a big challenge, the Methow may be the perfect choice for you.

Skykomish River

When you’re looking for a real adrenaline rush, the Skykomish River is here to deliver. It’s only about an hour north of Seattle so it’s very easy to get to, and it’s got some really intense rapids for experienced rafters. The most famous part of the Skykomish is the Boulder Drop, a Class V rapid that is challenging even for rafters who have been on some wild rides. If you’re looking for a real challenge, give it a try in the spring or early summer, when snowmelt runoff from the mountains contributes to higher-than-usual water levels.

The Skykomish is surrounded by lush forests and beautiful mountain scenes, so when you’re able to take your focus off the water for a moment, you have plenty of gorgeous scenery to take in.

Tieton River

While most of the rivers mentioned above are at their most exciting in the spring and early summer, that might leave you feeling like you have no options later in the year. Not to worry! The Tieton River’s got you covered.

The Tieton River comes roaring to life in September when a nearby dam is opened to lower lake levels. All of that water comes rushing down the Tieton, making it the place to be for whitewater enthusiasts. Throughout September, Tieton’s rapids swell to an impressive Class III or IV, attracting rafters from all over the world to enjoy the warm waters. You can enjoy the fun of whitewater rafting while being surrounded by the beauty of changing leaves, a perfect combination for late-season rafters.

River Recreation: Your Partners in Whitewater Adventures

The rivers near Seattle have some of the most fun whitewater opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, and we take great joy in sharing those experiences with you. Every river has its own unique character and challenges, which our guides are well-versed in. They can help direct you toward the gentle float or extreme adventure of your dreams.

If you’re looking to get out on the water, River Recreation is here to help. We have all the best equipment and professional guides at your service, and we are proud of our safety record. We want you to have an unforgettable experience in the great outdoors, and we offer tours on every one of the rivers mentioned above to help make that happen. Schedule your guided whitewater river rafting adventure today!