Yakima River Rafting Kayaking and Tubing
The upper part of the Yakima River is the more adventurous section that you may float. On this section your float begins 3 miles east of Cle Elum on scenic Washington State highway 10. and ends outside of the community of Thorp. The Yakima River is flowing through foothills as it drops out of the Cascade Mountains. Because of the drop in elevation from mountains to plains, there are sections of swift and choppy waters. Your group will need to be able to paddle and maneuver your equipment to get in and out of the river as well as to keep yourselves away from the banks. This area is manageable by novices but is not for the faint of heart. There is one set of class II rapids, which is usually the highlight of your trip. The class II rapids however can be avoided by floating on the other side of the river if you don’t feel up to the challenge.
The Upper Yakima River section flows through private farmland and deep canyons with basalt cliffs. The banks are forested with pine trees and brush, and throughout your float you will see birds, ducks, cranes, and an occasional deer.
This float usually takes between 2.5 and 4 hours depending on the water flow (CSF). Equipment available on the upper section includes rafts inflatable kayaks and fly-fishing rafts and pontoon rafts with frames.
Upper River Check-In - opens at 15 minutes to the hour - 8:45 - 12:45
Last shuttle at 1:00
Upper River GPS Finder
47 degrees 05' 32N
120 degrees 41' 23W
Directions: From I-90 take Exit 101, turn north, and drive 3 miles to parking area on right.
The Lower Yakima River float begins at Big Horn campsite just six miles from I-90 on Canyon Road. On this section of the river the water slows down because of the backwaters from Rosa dam. The river meanders along Highway 821 through the Yakima canyon close enough to the road to have several access points along the way. We provide full service on the section between Big Horn campsite and Big Pine Recreational site. On this trip you will enjoy dramatic desert scenery, rock faced canyons, sagebrush covered hills and the possible sighting big horn sheep. It is usually hotter on this section of the river and usually a more relaxing float.
***Do not let the calm waters fool you into thinking that you do not have to pay attention, there is a lot of brush along the float and it is important to keep away from the banks.
Equipment available on the lower section includes rafts, tubes, inflatable kayaks and fly-fishing frames. This float usually takes about 4 hours depending on the water flows.
**Note: Tubes are not recommended until July when the water warms up.
Big horn is a private launch site; the fee is collected when you make your reservation.
Red's Fly Shop has a great map of the Yakima River Canyon showing access points.
Lower River Put In
Lower River Take out
Know your River Rules:
- BE COURTEOUS TO PROPERTY OWNERS AND OTHER RIVER USERS
- You and your group are not the only ones on the river. There are families, private property owners, fishermen, kayaker’s tubers and multiple government officials. Be kind to all you encounter.
- On the upper section of the river it is private land on both sides of the Yakima River. Even many of the islands have private owners.
- When you stop stay near the bank and be respectful of peoples privacy and their land.
- NO GLASS OR STYROFOAM - If you are bringing your own coolers remember no glass and Styrofoam will not with stand a raft trip keep it from polluting in our water ways. Think green.
- PACK OUT YOUR TRASH - Use the leave no trace behind principal and what you pack in make sure and pack out. Thank you!
- IT IS ILLEGAL TO CONSUME ALCHOL ON THE RIVER - RCW 66.44.100 states, “Except as permitted by this title, no person shall open the package containing liquor or consume liquor in a public place. Every person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class 3 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW.”
Please be responsible, safe and considerate of the other people using the river.
- Dog are allowed and we do have PFDs for your pet. But be sure and pay attention; if a pet damages equipment you are responsible to have it repaired
See pictures of all our Equipment on Facebook
Fly Fishing Equipment is available on the Upper and the lower sections Full frame with and anchor mount will fit on a 14 ft. raft and Now Available 16’ pontoon raft
Equipment Description Daily rate with Delivery & Shuttle** Fishing Frame Full frame with anchor mount $40.00 Fishing Pontoon Raft 16', Upper or Lower Canyon
capacity - 3 persons
Number of people
rated* to seat
Raft Size Daily rate with Delivery & Shuttle** 10 14 ft. standard $130.00 (Upper river) 8 13 ft. Self Bailer $120.00 (Upper river)
$135.00 (Lower river)
8 13 ft. standard $110.00 (Upper river)
$125.00 (Lower river)
6 12 ft. standard $100.00 (Upper river)
$115.00 (Lower river)
4 11 ft. standard $90.00 (Upper river)
$105.00 (Lower river)
2 Inflatable Kayak* $55.00 (Upper river)
$65.00 (Lower river)
1 Inflatable Kayak* $35.00 (Upper river)
$40.00 (Lower river)
1 Inner Tubes $17.00 (Lower river)
*Rating is based on each individual weighing 185 pounds
**Price above includes equipment, paddles & vests
Additional Options Rowing frames Aluminum frame, the ice chest is the seat $20.00 Economy rowing frame 2 wood seats on thwarts $15.00 Rafting Guides $120.00 Pet PFDs (small and medium dog sizes) $3.50 Rentals: Ice chest, PFDs, dry bags, phone bags $2.00 - $3.50 Transfer Fee If we have to transfer equipment from one of our two locations to the other, this fee will be added $10.00 Raft repair and care UV 303 protectant available,
boat cleaner, patch supplies and kits, specialty order. Will do minor raft repair.
River Store - for your last minute needs at the office in Thorp, We sell water shoes, sunglasses, water cameras, bug spray, sunscreen, bottled water, Gatorade, pop, and snacks
Package Floater's Deal for Lower and Upper River reservations
Floater's Deal - includes: raft, gear (PFDs and paddles), picnic lunch, and delivery
4 people - $ 120.00 (Upper river)
- $ 135.00 (Lower river)
6 people - $ 142.00 (Upper river)
- $ 157.00 (Lower river)
8 people - $ 163.00 (Upper river)
- $ 178.00 (Lower river)
When making your reservation, write "Floaters Deal" in the customer comments and we will adjust the price for you.
A day on the Yakima River is made more enjoyable by the food, drink, and the company of friends and family. Call us, load up the family, and come on down to Thorp / Ellensburg to start off a day of fun on the Yakima River.
Standard Picnic lunches include sandwich or wrap, assorted chips, bottled water, carrots, cookies, and a garbage bag. Lunches are packed in an Ice chest and ready to go. Deluxe Picnic lunches include sandwich or wrap, assorted chips, bottled water, a selection of fruits and vegetables, cookies, and a garbage bag. Lunches are packed in an Ice chest and ready to go.
Picnic Costs per person:
Standard: $7.50 for adults
Deluxe: $9.75 for adults
for 8 people or more - please email or call for pricing.
Sandwiches and Wraps - Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, Tuna, Veggie, Cheese, Chicken, Egg Salad, Peanut Butter & Jelly. All sandwiches have a choice of lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard, horseradish, and cheddar or swiss cheese. All sandwiches come standard on Wheat Berry bread, unless you request otherwise.
Download the Rafting Procedures & Directions and the required Legal Wavier, Please complete before you come and bring with you to speed up the check-in process. And, you'll know What to Expect from your Rill Adventures raft rental experience.
Rafting Procedures & Directions
Legal Wavier - required for all participants of both floats
Reservation and Cancellation Policies
Credit cards are held for security deposit and cancellation fees. To avoid cancellation fees May 15- September 10th, cancellations must be made a full 11 days in advance. Cancellation fees will be 1/2 the rental price if made 5-10 days before reservation date, and will be the full rental price if cancelled less than 5 days before reservation date.
Rafting will take place regardless of rainy or windy weather, Only in the instance of real weather hazards, such as lightening storms or flooding, will reservations be cancelled. Weather hazard determination is at Rill's discretion. In the event of a cancellation by Rill's, there will be no fees charged.
Once your reservation has been received, we will email you the paperwork and a list of instructions and directions to the check-in point.
Fishing License Info - Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
Red's Fly Shop - great map of the Yakima River Canyon showing access points
Snoqualmie Pass Report - WS DOT