Green River: Headworks to Kanaskat-Palmer State Park

A step up run with many good class II surf waves for intermediate paddlers looking to build skills and experience their first class III rapid.


  • US Army Corp Project Gauge: Howard A. Hanson Dam and Reservoir
  • The Howard Hanson Dam gauge provides a good forecast for dam release, and the Palmer gauge provides a good check on current flow.
  • This section is runnable between 500 to 3,000 cfs the Near Palmer Gauge. At flows near and above 3000 cfs Railroad Drop rapid proses a dangerous ledge hold on river right that should be avoided. A portage above the rapid on river left is possible.

Put-ins & Take-outs

  • Pipeline Road: Put in is on the side of this road. Get there by exiting the park and head north on Cumberland-Kanaskat Road and turn-off Headworks Road which parallels the river until you see a dirt side road about 3 miles down. Follow the dirt path to the put in.
  • Kanaskat-Palmer State Park: Discover Pass required. Take out is marked with large sign board warning of dangerous rapids downstream.

On the water


This is a good run for beginners led by a more experienced paddler. As with other dam release runs in the region, extensive brush along the banks becomes an annoyance during rescue situations. Most of the rapids are class II with the exception of Railroad Bridge, a class III ledge marked by a distinct horizon line after you float beneath the railroad bridge. The preferred line is down the tongue on river left but the details of the line change with flow. Be sure to scout from river left if you are unsure of the line, but stay below the high water mark and off of private property. Over the course of the run there are several good eddy lines to practice boat handling skills and some nice surf waves downstream of the highway bridge.

Paddlers in the region should note that the increasing demands of urban growth and endangered salmon have been the focus of management priorities on the river, but after a day or two of intense winter rains you are nearly always guaranteed to find this run with water.

An important consideration on this run is finding out when the water will be flowing. Although discharge from the dam often remains constant through the weekend, the engineers do sometimes adjust flows over the weekend at high flows of most interest to boaters.


  • Suitable Activities: Packrafting
  • Seasons: January, February, March, April, May, October, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Class II+ River, Class III River
  • Length: 4.0 mi
32101 Cumberland Kanasket Rd SE, Ravensdale, WA 98051
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