Parks Icons: Rafting at Kanaskat-Palmer

Rafting at Kanaskat-Palmer
October 2, 2015
Dear Readers: In this occasional blog series we explore the unique and exciting aspects of our parks through the icons created by fine art illustrator Suzanne Wood and computer graphic artist Donetta Matautia. Have a favorite park? Check our icon gallery for a gorgeous full-color illustration of what makes your park special. And while you are there, buy a poster version! They are lots to choose from, more coming and they are all for sale!

Surrounded on three sides by the teeming Green River, it’s no wonder Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is synonymous with whitewater rafting and kayaking.

The Green River is a popular destination for expert-level rafters. Snaking around the park through thick forest and rock ravines and punctuated with rapids reaching Class IV in places, it is an exciting ride through incredible country. And Kanaskat-Palmer is THE place to put in! Less than an hour to the east of Tacoma, the park is an easy day getaway for westsiders as well as a camping gem! Plush, verdant, rife with deciduous and evergreen trees and lush undergrowth, the park has a classic Northwest forest feel.

But it’s the wild waters of the Green that give the park its music! Are you a raftophile looking for your next favorite run? Get those rafts, canoes or kayaks on the roof rack and let’s ride!
The Adventure...
Raft and roar! Kanaskat-Palmer is a white water paradise!
Two miles of pristine river shoreline encircle the back side of Kanaskat-Palmer’s 320 forested acres. It is, in a word, idyllic. Stretches of calm water create perfect places to play or even cast a line! Salmon, steelhead and wild rainbow trout all call the Green River home. Deep gravel bars make this a perfect spot for a quiet day or even weekend of fly fishing, so don’t forget your tackle and your license.

In warmer days, it’s fun for kids and adults alike to pick along the shoreline for a little wading, exploring or even swimming. Like skipping stones? This is a super spot to hone your skills as an expert skipper! This is a great park for just spending a day by the riverside.
Take a little time and wander the serene shores of the Green!


It’s the white water that beckons!
White water rafting
You MUST be an experienced rafter or kayaker — or at least under the direct supervision of one — to take on the Green River challenge. Rafting the Green is often a sport for the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall when runoff and rain swell the flow and the rapids circle mossy boulders at a breakneck pace. With a little rain the green quickly goes from a moderate float with about 2,000 feet per second coursing through the gorge to a heart-pumping 5,000 or more, say park staff. When it hits 7,000 — and it can — the river must be closed to rafters and kayakers.

The park offers two take out/put in sites at the park. Drop in your craft and with a little push you are on a natural roller coaster ride! Paddle hard — this river is bound to get you “cartwheeling” with it’s thundering drops and dips. Pivot, dig and cross your fingers you’ll end up “bow-in!” If the river’s fast then you will be done in no time. No worries! Head back to the park and do it again — and again!

As canoes and kayaks are not wind or engine propelled, a boating license is not required and the ramps are fee free, too! You will need a Discover Pass to park and proper gear is a must including a life jacket, helmet and whistle. Stay the night and then drop you craft in right after morning coffee for a full day of river running fun! Many river riders enjoy Kanaskat-Palmer as a stop along the way. Start out further west of the park and then pull out for a break or even a night at the park before continuing for a while downstream. Regardless of the length of your float, you’ll want to arrange for someone to pick you up at the end of your river journey!

Tired and ready for an evening of rest, reflection and maybe a little bragging about the day? Why not stay in one of the comfortable — and affordable — yurts at the park. With heat, light, a comfortable bunk, porch and their own fire pit, it’s the easy way to refresh for another day on the river
The Chatter

What’s it like to take on the Green? Watch!!!

Park Hours:
Summer: 8 a.m. to dusk
Winter: 8 a.m. to dusk

Stay the night:
The park has 25 tent spaces, 19 electrical spaces, six yurts, one dump station, two restrooms (ADA), and six showers (four ADA). Maximum site length is 50-feet (limited availability). In the winter, camping is first come, first served. The six yurts at Kanaskat-Palmer are 16-feet in diameter by 10-feet high and are furnished with bunk beds that sleep three, a queen-size futon, overhead light, and small end table. Outside is a picnic table, fire grill, utility hookup, and a deck that is ADA accessible. Bathrooms and showers are nearby.
Yurt going to love the cozy night’s stay you’ll find in Kanaskat-Palmer’s yurts!
Discover Pass:
The Discover Pass must be displayed on your vehicle when visiting the park for day use. Parking is included in fees for campers.

32101 Cumberland-Kanaskat Road
Ravensdale, WA 98051

Want a handy map? Download one from the State Parks website.