Thinking about going rafting with Zollers Outdoor Odysseys? Not sure what trip down the river to choose? Well, you can never go wrong with the most popular White Salmon rafting trip, the Middle Gorge. Here is why:

The Middle White Salmon is the most commercially rafted river in the area, and there are a lot of reasons why it is so popular. The White Salmon resides in The Colombia River Gorge, not far from Portland, Oregon. The trip begins right here at our outpost, so no bussing anywhere to start! We are the only company that has a boat launch right from our property. You arrive, go through all the pre-trip steps, and then your guide will walk you down a big set of stairs to the river. This all happens in our backyard! From the push off, the Middle section is action-packed and gets you set for the eight-mile paddle you will be participating in. The cold water that is glacier-fed from MT. Adams wakes you up and the intense first few rapids are a great way to begin the trip!

raft whitewater
Kids love this trip! Along with adventurous adults

What to expect

You might be thinking, “If it is so intense why is it the best section?”. Well, the first half of the river is the most constant and active whitewater in this section. Once you are 5 miles in, everything after Husum Falls starts to chill out a bit. Husum is a 12-foot class 5 waterfall that is a part of this trip. It is totally awesome, totally crazy, and totally optional.

The waterfall’s grand opening is usually in July and we always give guests the option to walk around it, which is called portaging. Having the option to run the class 5 rapid is what makes this section such a good choice. Half of your boat can choose to go over the waterfall, and the other half could walk around. There is never any pressure, and we never let people convince their friends to go. Running it is completely up to you!

Washington whitewater rafting Husum falls on the white salmon river
Were you looking to go big? If so, Husum Falls is the drop for you. No young kids allowed!

Last three miles

After you make it through, or around Husum Falls, three miles are left of the Middle White Salmon River. The first rapid on this half is one of the biggest waves of the day! That big hit is called “Rattlesnake”, and the river starts to widen up after. The rapids get less intense and you can start to relax. Just because the river starts to get mellow, doesn’t mean it gets boring! The bottom half of the Middle is very beautiful and usually involves more wildlife to observe. You do get to chill out a bit more, which works out great because paddling for 8 miles can wear you out! 

The Middle is the most popular White Salmon rafting trip because of the great combination of different whitewater experiences it provides. You start action-packed and can get even crazier if you choose to run Husum Falls. After all that, you finish the river strong with a peaceful paddle to take you home! 

Can’t go wrong with the Middle Gorge, but if you want a longer float with more splashes… we have the Lower Gorge trip that adds onto the Middle and takes you to the mouth of The Columbia River! Or If you’re feeling like you want even more of an adventure we have the Upper Gorge. You start a bit higher on the river and it involves more class 4s. This section is only for adults who think they can handle that wild section! No matter what trip is best for you, we hope you choose to raft the White Salmon River with Zollers Outdoor Odysseys.

Allison Schatz has been a guide for Zollers since 2023.
She is a lover of the river and what the Pacific Northwest has to offer!