I'm pretty sure there are a crazy amount of Washingtonians who haven't paddled the Yakima River in Eastern Washington. It is one of our favorite 1/2 to full day paddles/floats. It's a blast! The last time we paddled we took the easy route, from Umtanum to Roza (just south of the town of Ellensburg, WA). This time, paddled during last summer, we knew we wanted to do a little more and decided to try Ringer to Roza.
First thing's first, we dropped off people (there were 6 of us on this trip) and gear at the Ringer boat launch (outside of Ellensburg, on Ringer Loop Road, upriver from the Umtanum launch site). Now, there are a lot of ways to do this, but we had half of our team take cars A, B, & C to the end at Roza. The other half stayed and got the kayaks ready to go at Ringer.
Cars A & B were left at the end (Roza), and everyone came back (to Ringer) in car C. Car C was left at Ringer. We spent the day kayaking downriver and when we finished we jumped into cars A & B and came back to Ringer and exchanged people/distributed gear back to cars A, B, & C. This worked well with the 6 of us, including our 5 inflatable kayaks...and gear...and refreshments.
The paddle was a dream - in the summer the air is warm, sun hot, water cool, and the river moves at a pretty normal speed. We paddled the approximately 15 miles from Ringer to Roza in about 5 hours. We stopped once for lunch.
If you plan to go it's always a good idea to check the river (here's a greatlink to a handy map and a local company you could contact about conditions). Also, prepare to pay small fees to park at both locations - one is the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the other is BLM...bring a little cash, read the signs and you're good to go! Don't forget your PFDs and just a tip - most folks don't recommend starting any higher than Ringer on this portion of river unless you've got some experience. Taking out lower isn't possible, due to a dam...see you on the river this summer!
~Paul, Amber, Keith, Vic, Mandy, Karl ETC
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