Our Favorite River Floats in Washington

Spend a hot summer day floating on one of Washington's many rivers

By Alene Bouranova


July 31, 2015

Note: This article was published in July 2015 and some details of this article may have changed. For more current information, see the August 2018 cover story of Seattle magazine on the 40 Best Water Adventures in the PNW, which features some of Washington’s best river floats.

Washington, as we all know, is a land of many rivers: the winding Columbia, the raging Skykomish, the gentle Stillaguamish….I could go on and on.

As lovely as these rivers are to look at, they’re even better to float on. Just picture it– the sun shining, birds soaring, and you, cool as a cucumber in your inntertube, floating leisurely past wildflower-dotted banks, laughing with friends while sipping a river-chilled beverage. Ahh, paradise.

All you need for a successful river float is good company, a sturdy inflatable (River Rat tubes are my go-to) and cars parked at the start and end of the journey. Heads up: this hot summer weather has left water levels lower than usual, so be prepared for slower float times. And as always, keep an eye out for rocks and logjams.

With that in mind, grab a few friends and make a day out of these fun river adventures.

Central & Eastern Washington

Okanogan River, Okanogan

Put in: Omak Stampede Grounds or River Access Park
Take out: Just before SR97 bridge 
Time: 2-4 hours 

Wenatchee River, Leavenworth

Put in: Icicle Road Bridge
Take out: Waterfront Park
Time: 3-4 hours

Yakima River, Ellensburg

Put in: Umptanum Recreation Site
Take out: Roza Recreation Site (last chance exit point– go any farther and you’ll end up at the dam)
Time: 3-4 hours

Western Washington

Cedar River, Renton

Put in: Jones Road
Take out: Carco Theatre
Time: 2-3 hours

Snoqualmie River, Fall City

Put in: Plum River Access Point
Take out: SR202 Bridge
Time: 3-4 hours

South Fork Nooksack River, Acme

Put in: Acme Bridge
Take out: Potter Road Bridge or Strand Road 
Time: 4 hours

Looking for more float trips? Get ideas here!

This article previously included information on river floats at Green River which have since been removed because of conflicting information. 


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