Archive | June 2012

Spotlight: Methow River Valley

Methow River Valley

Located approximately four hours from Seattle, the Methow River Valley lets visitors escape their busy city lives and relax amongst the wildlife, with spectacular views and exhilarating recreational activities. Next time you want a serene getaway, check out the Methow River Valley near Winthrop!

Sun Mountain Lodge: 

Sitting high above the Methow Valley is Sun Mountain Lodge, a breathtaking, tranquil resort that has everything from hiking, biking, fishing and rafting right in its backyard. They are even fully equipped with a spa that allows guests to fully relax during their stay in the beautiful Methow Valley. Sun Mountain Lodge is the perfect getaway from the big city where you will enjoy stargazing, deer sightings, and spectacular mountain views.

Bird Watching: Washington is one of the best states in the country for bird watching and the Methow Valley is one of the best locations to see some of these striking creatures. You will see species ranging from from Barrow’s Goldeneye, Blue Grouse, Rufous Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker and Western Tanager. The Beaver Pond at Sun Mountain Lodge is one of the prime spots for bird watching in the area, but the valley offers many different habitats. Check out all of the Methow birding locations here.

Fly Fishing: The Methow Valley is also one of the premier fly fishing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. North Cascades Fly Fishing has all of the expertise you could ever want in a fly fishing trip and they’re located right at Sun Mountain Lodge. Whether you want an introduction or a guided trip, they can hook you up!

Whitewater Rafting:
Of course, this vacation would not be complete without a day full of whitewater rafting! The Methow River’s Black Canyon Stretch brings adventurers Class III and IV rapids which are sure to thrill rafters of all ages and skill levels. With peak season on the Methow right around the corner, this is the perfect time to plan your trip to the valley and get out on the river with Blue Sky Outfitters!


Great overview of things to do in Leavenworth! Also check out the Wenatchee River when you’re out there during the summer!

3 Family-Friendly Hikes

3 Family-Friendly Hikes near Wenatchee/Leavenworth

The area around the Wenatchee River has much more to offer than just phenomenal whitewater rafting. It is also home to some fabulous hikes for adventurers of all ages and abilities. In fact, there are a number of great family-friendly hikes along the river that would be a wonderful addition to your family’s rafting trip on the Wenatchee.


Tumwater Pipeline Trail

Tumwater Pipeline Trail:

This trail allows hikers to experience the breath-taking scenery of a deep canyon along the mighty Wenatchee River. The added excitement of this hike lies in the abandoned pipeline and power plant from the Great Northern Railway. Make sure to check out the old iron bridge that extends across the river and offers marvelous views of the Wenatchee. This hike has something for everyone and the whole family is sure to love this little glimpse of Washington’s history.


Horan Natural Area: 

Located within Wenatchee Confluence State Park, this loop has very minimal elevation gain but boasts 2.5 miles of quiet, calming scenery to stroll through. This area is where the Wenatchee River flows into the vast Columbia River. Children will have a blast searching for birds, muskrats and all of the other wildlife that take advantage of the oasis that is the Horan Natural Area.


 Little Wenatchee Gorge: 

This hike follows 3 miles round-trip along the Little Wenatchee River as the water flows over rapids and rocks. The dramatic gorge is sure to be a sight the whole family will love, and the short distance and low elevation gain makes it a perfect hike for kids.

Make sure to check out these hikes next time you and your family are out on the Wenatchee with Blue Sky! 

Great Post! I would love to visit all of these places, adding it to my bucket list!


1San Juan, Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Aquatic thrills abound in Puerto Rico, from world-class surfing at Rincon where the swells reach 35 feet to relaxed scuba diving, particularly around Mona Island, Desecheo Island and Vieques. On terra firma, the tropical terrain yields prime hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing opportunities.
2Bali, Indonesia
Take in the lush, volcanically active landscape of Bali while whitewater rafting on the Ayung and Unda rivers. Or get the heart pumping off-shore with an ocean-rafting sightseeing and snorkeling tour in boats that reach 44 miles per hour. Surfers hit the island’s western side for big-time swells.
3Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United…

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Blue Sky’s 11 “Must-Know” Rafting Terms

For the average recreational whitewater rafter that only been rafting once or twice before, there are some terms that your guide may use that will sound like they are speaking an alien language. Luckily, Blue Sky is here to help you decipher this “guide’s code.” We’re not saying that if you don’t know these terms you’re doomed, but if you bring up one of these terms and your guide knows what you are talking about (e.g. “That curler was gnarly!”), give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it.

11. Staircase – A stretch of river where water pours over a series of drops that resemble a staircase.

10. Strainer – Brush, fallen trees, bridge pilings, or anything else that allows the current to sweep through. These can be dangerous and our guides are thoroughly trained to recognize and avoid them.

9. Flip line – A line or rope used to turn a flipped boat right side up. These may be tied across a boat’s bottom or worn as part of a belt around a guide’s waist. All guides are required to carry one just in case.

8. “Nice Looking Rubber” – One of the higher compliments that can be paid on a raft.

7. Curler – A high, steep wave that curls or falls back onto its own upstream face.

6. Boulder Garden – A rapid densely strewn with boulders that necessitate intricate maneuvering.

5. CFS – Cubic feet per second. A value measuring the velocity of a river normally from 0 to 20,000 that indicates the volume of water flowing per second past any given point along a river. For example, the CFS of the Wenatchee River this weekend is going to be somewhere around 12,000.

4. Ghost Boat – To push a boat out into the current and let it float empty through a rapid.

3. Sandpaper – Small, choppy waves over shallows.

2. Eddy – A place where the current either stops or turns to head upstream. Usually found below obstructions and on the inside of bends.

1. Wild Thing – A technique for freeing a boat hung up on a rock by having the entire crew jump around like crazy monkeys.

Washington State’s Most Scenic Drives


Mt. Rainier from Sunrise viewing point

Chinook Scenic Byway

From south King County the Chinook Scenic Byway is by far the best and most beautiful ways to access eastern Washington in the late-spring and summer months. The journey starts from Enumclaw, WA heading into the huge Cascade Foothills. On this drive you are going to get the best views of Mt. Rainier, including the amazing sunrise viewing point. The route descends into Yakima, passing through the dramatic Wenatchee National Forest along the American River and traveling the distinctive basalt flows of the Columbia Plateau. At the top of Chinook Pass, you can also continue south to Cayuse pass which will take you past Rimrock Lake and the put-in point of our Tieton River adventure. The Chinook Scenic Byway is a great drive that everyone should take at least once in the lives.

Lake Chelan from Chelan Butte Road

Chelan to Leavenworth

This beautiful 62-mile stretch of highway originates along the south shore of Lake Chelan and takes Navarre Coulee around Bear Mountain. Then it follows the Columbia River to Wenatchee and turns west along the Wenatchee River to Leavenworth – the stretch of our Wenatchee River trip. During the summer season, the section of the drive from Wenatchee to Leavenworth along the Wenatchee River is excellent. You’ll definitely want to stop at Peshastin Pinnacles State Park to watch the rock climbers. Lake Chelan is a spectacular glacier-carved 51-mile long lake that is flanked on both sides by towering mountains. The further north you go, the higher the peaks get.  In the winter, the lake is lowered to allow for spring runoff. Lake Chelan is perfect for those on our Wenatchee/Methow overnight excursion. You definitely do not want to miss the amazing experience of Lake Chelan while you are there.

Blue Sky Outfitters offers exciting rafting adventures on the Wenatchee and Tieton Rivers in Central Washington, the Methow River near Lake Chelan, and the White Salmon River near the Columbia Gorge.  Blue Sky Outfitters has provided exciting, all-inclusive fun-filled rafting adventures in Washington State for over 30 years. Give us a call today at (800) 228-7238 or email us at for more information.

Top Ten Rafting Trips in the World

Rafters on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe… Yikes!

June 13, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, we are now in the middle of whitewater rafting season. We all know that Washington State has some of the best rivers to raft in the nation, including the spectacular Wenatchee River. The Wenatchee, our most popular river, is one of the top ten rafting trips in the nation. But have you ever been curious about some of the best rivers in the world? National Geographic recently published an interesting article highlighting some of the most fun and intense rafting trips in the world. Included in the article are the majestic pine forests on the Magpie River of Eastern Quebec and the stunning views of the rainforest of Rio Upano, Ecuador. Even Allan, from the Blue Sky office staff, has taken the 10 day trip on the Tatshenshini River in Alaska/Canada, the number one rafting trip in the world!

Each river offers its own unique challenge. The Magpie River journey is an eight-day trip through the remote forests of eastern Quebec. Its rapids grow in difficulty as the trip progresses, overnight stays are spent on the different river islands. The Middle Fork section of the Salmon River in Idaho is one of the most popular rivers to travel in the United States and the World where stunning wildlife is one of the greatest sights.

The beauty of whitewater rafting is that you can travel anywhere in the world and get a completely unique experience. Whether you travel to Canada, Nepal, Australia, Zimbabwe or right here in Washington State, you are going to be immersed in the natural wildlife and geology that each location has to offer.

Blue Sky Outfitters offers exciting rafting adventures on the Wenatchee and Tieton Rivers in Central Washington, the Methow River near Lake Chelan, and the White Salmon River near the Columbia Gorge.  Blue Sky Outfitters has provided exciting, all-inclusive fun-filled rafting adventures in Washington State for over 30 years. Give us a call today at (800) 228-7238 or email us at for more information.