You might not think about eastern Washington or Oregon as a go-to destination for water sports, but the land of many waters certainly has some unique opportunities to satisfy your inner rafter, kayaker, or paddleboarder. Bordered by two iconic rivers to the north and the west with the Snake and Columbia Rivers, respectively, and fed by a landscape charged with ancient aquifers and generous snow packs, it is no surprise that Walla Walla roughly translates to many waters.
Water is a precious resource that also facilitates a variety of recreation opportunities. To learn more about the water in our neck of the woods, consider reading up on our local natural history prior to venturing out. It will no doubt enrich your experience. Check out Many Waters by Robert Carson and The Blues published by the Blue Mountain Land Trust. Both of these publications capture an amazing breadth of local knowledge.
If you are local, you are probably thinking to yourself ‘just tell us how to cool off already!’ In the name of research, our family decided to get our feet wet in the sport of rafting. A number of months ago, we contacted the Minam Store and asked about guided trips. We knew we wanted to add this sport to our recreation catalog, but we wanted to learn from an experienced guide. The two closest raftable rivers to Walla Walla are the Wallowa and Grande Ronde. We actually ended up asking for a training trip instead of a guided trip. Even though both rivers are beginner floats, we just felt uncomfortable winging it with our two small children in the boat. Don’t try to YouTube Rafting 101; pay for your education. From our experience, it was worth every penny, and we will forever be grateful for the knowledge we gained. Think about the memories over a lifetime.