Photo By Frank Cone

They built the dams. They created a lake.

When Rock Island Dam was completed in 1927 on the mighty Columbia River, proponents trumpeted the electricity the structure would provide. Fast forward nearly 100 years and it’s clear another benefit is present the original dam builders never foresaw: the waters behind the dam make for an ideal flatwater padding experience.

The pool is some 20 miles long, providing ample opportunities to explore in a kayak or canoe. And there is much to check out. This river section features city life and wildlife, views of mountains to the west and of basalt cliffs to the east.

The confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers is especially enticing. Various channels provide a close look at birds and mammals that call the confluence home.

What follows is just a taste of what the Wenatchee Valley has to offer in terms of flatwater paddling. Please note that these descriptions are meant to serve as an introduction, not as a super-detailed guide.


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