Riding the Rapids of Teiton | Washington

The summer is almost ending and if you still haven’t got your bite of river rafting, then head to the Teiton river. The white waters run once a year around the beginning of fall. The rest of the time the river is more of a creek so shallow one can walk across in some of the places. The water released from Rimrock Dam fuels the river and Tieton’s steep gradient produces 14 miles of narrow and swift Class III+ whitewater leading to the Naches River.

We started near the town of Naches outside of Yakima in Washington state. Eastern Washington is a dry place and the river helped cool off the heat of Yakima. The Tieton River was roaring as we set off. It was thrilling to paddle down the canyon watching the river banks and canyon walls fly past. The river never slowed down and we made our way through some great rapids “High Noon” and “Waffle Wall.” We then rafted over a dam for a big splash that got almost everyone on the boat totally soaked. 

Just after making past this hurdle, our raft got stuck. It just wouldn’t move and we were all paddling deliriously. I wondered how often do rafts fall over sending people in them down the river. Hopefully never. And hopefully not today. We continued steering, other rafters went by almost totally ignoring us. The guide then took over and asked us to stop paddling and just rock the raft. The momentum finally worked and the raft slowly tipped over the rock and we set off.

The remainder of the way went unruffled as we enjoyed the views of the unique oak forests and huge basalt cliffs. There were some ancient murals on some of the cliff walls, which our guide was kind enough to point out. We even passed a tiny zoo. We then pulled the raft to the shore and a day riding the roller-coaster rapids and tumbling currents came to a safe end.

If you want to experience the thrills of river rafting in warm waters remember that the season starts very late on Teiton river and lasts for a very short time.

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