Methow River, Washington State

The Methow River runs through the North Cascade Mountains of Washington state, descending through the Methow Valley down to the Columbia near Pateros.

Navigable Reach: The Methow’s water level is highly variable. During spring, I’ve easily put in at Mazama. As river level drops, it’s still navigable from below Winthrop. As a hot summer progresses, you’ll progressively have to move down the valley, eventually passing beyond Twisp. The lower reaches should be navigable year round.

Character & Class: Varies with season & location on the river. Most of the river is Class II water, good for chilling out. I like to run it early in the morning, so I can come up on deer fording the river. The exciting part is Black Canyon, considerably down-valley. This section is Class III. The rest of it, both above and below, is Class II of varying interest.

Rafters regularly go down the Methow, so there’s decent literature available on it.