Columbia River Kayaking Trips


“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” — Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

One of the best ways to experience our refuges is by water. This summer, we’re going to offer kayak trips on the Columbia River on McNary National Wildlife Refuge and the Hanford Reach National Monument. This is your chance to experience these incredible local resources with agency and trained guides. Ready for some details?

When: August 21 (Hanford Reach), September 11 (McNary), September 25 (Hanford Reach).

Watercraft: Hardshell, open cockpit kayaks. Several of the kayaks are tandem; if you sign up with someone, you may have to share a kayak with them.

Who: Ages 12 and up. There is a limit of 4 per family; space is very limited. Under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian.

How: Registration is first-come, first-served and opens at 8:00 a.m. on August 12. Call (509) 546-8330. The recording will also have directions, but leave your name, callback number, date interested in, and number in party.

Cost: $15/person, paid in advance to the Friends of Mid-Columbia River Refuges, 64 Maple Street, Burbank, WA 99323.

Hanford Where: For the Hanford Reach trips, meet at the White Bluffs Boat Launch (White Bluffs Boat Launch via Google Maps) at 9:00 a.m. Be forewarned that, while the road in is in great shape, it is a 5-mile-long, dusty, gravel road. We will shuttle you to the Vernita Boat Launch.

McNary Where: Meet at the Casey Pond Boat Launch (Casey Pond via Google Maps). Launch time is 10:00.

Hanford Trip Description: Vernita Bridge to White Bluffs Boat Launch. Twenty miles, 4-6 hours. Class 0, flat water, but swift. No experience needed—it's an easy trip for novices—but it is strenuous. You need to be able to kit in a kayak and paddle most of the trip.

Special Hanford Trip Note: These are kayaks; nothing but the smallest cooler will fit. It's even better to bring food that does not need refrigeration.

McNary Trip Description: Columbia River shoreline along the refuge. Two hours. Class 0, flat water. Easy trip for novices, but it is moderately strenuous.

What To Bring: Water (at least one quart). Sunscreen. Sun glasses. Other sun protection. You will get wet, so dress for water and weather. Footwear that will stay on in water. Lunch for the Hanford Reach trip. Change of clothes to be left in your vehicle. Necessary medications (e.g., epipen). We’ll bring the rest (e.g., lifejackets, paddles).

What Not To Bring: Personal watercraft. Large coolers.

What Not To Do: Reservations are nontransferrable, except within the immediate family. In other words, you can't give your trip to a friend, but you can bring a different child than the reservation holder.

More Information?: (509) 546-8333 or