FIFTH ANNUAL, August 12, 2017 At Lyons Ferry, Washington USA

Participants are encouraged to pre-register at eventbrite.com/swimthesnake.

Welcome to the 5th Annual Swim the Snake swim!  It is a paddleboard/kayak competition on top of the non-competitive, open water swim across the Snake River.  The event will be held at Lyons Ferry, Washington.

A paddleboard/kayak competition begins at Lyons Ferry Marina (LFM) and ends at the swimming beach at Lyons Ferry State Park (LFSP). Participants can compete in teams; a paddler and a swimmer, or swimmers may just swim the Channel between LFSP to LFM.  Or paddlers can just cross the river to LFSP.  Swimmers will meet at LFSP swimming beach and swim from the State Park to Lyons Ferry Marina.  Stronger swimmers may wish to return swim to the LFSP if they exit the water before 1 p.m.

Local County Sheriffs, Coast Guard Auxiliary and volunteers will help direct river traffic and assist participants if necessary.

Entry fee is $25.00. This event is a fundraiser for the Blue Mountain RC&D (Resource Conservation and Development) Council, a regional non-profit and two local youth summer swim programs, Pomeroy and Dayton.

Due to a lack of internet connection at Lyons Ferry, we are unable to process electronic payments (credit or debit cards) the day of the event. Participants are encouraged to pre-register at eventbrite.com/swimthesnake. Commemorative T-shirts may also be purchased on the website.


  • All paddlers MUST wear a PFD (personal flotation device).
  • Paddle boards must be equipped with leashes and attached to the paddler.
  • The swim is for intermediate level or better swimmers
  • All swimmers must be at least 10 year old, in good physical health and must wear a swim cap due to safety regulations.
  • Swimmers under 15 years old must EACH be accompanied by an adult swimmer
  • Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
  • You MUST sign a waiver to participate


The Course

The course across the river is approximately 0.7 miles long, diagonally. Depending on water levels, water temperature averages 69 degrees, river depth is 60’.  The fastest swimmers usually finish in just under 25 minutes (@ 3 mph) and most swimmers are out of the water within 40 minutes (1.5 mph).  Paddlers can cover this distance in less time and if so choose, may paddle back to the Marina, mindful of boat traffic.

Please reference event map.



For swimmers, you may park at Lyons Ferry State Park. You will need a parking permit from Washington State Parks to avoid a parking ticket.

Paddlers can off load their “craft” at the boat launch at the LFM and park near the boneyard at the south end of Marina property. Please do not park in trailer spaces reserved for outboard boats.  A free shuttle bus will be available to ferry swimmers back to the Park to retrieve vehicles following the swim.

The Course

For swimmers and paddlers, boaters are in the channel on both sides of the course to form a swim lane to assist you with direction. If you have trouble, and drift into the boat line, you can hold on and rest or choose to be picked up.  If you drift THROUGH the boat line you will automatically be picked up.

A log boom protecting the Lyons Ferry Park area must be navigated. Paddlers can paddle around the west end of the log boom and head toward the swimming beach at LFSP.  Swimmers pass either over the top or by swimming underneath.  After you clear the log boom, you will access the open Snake River, careful to maintain a diagonal swim line, easing with the current and swimming to Lyons Ferry Marina.

You will also paddle and/or swim underneath the State Highway 261 Bridge. Special caution is needed to avoid bridge the footings.  Volunteers in kayaks, canoes, paddle-boards and small craft will help prevent you from straying into this area.

The finish is near the fishing pad and accessible walkway at recently installed at Lyons Ferry Marina. You will be able to see markers as guides on the shore.  You will exit the river on the Marina (south) side of the breakwater via a ladder.  Follow directions by the event staff and swim under (not under water!) the catwalk ramp to the ladders on the breakwater.   Remember, this is a river and the shoreline is rocky; you are encouraged to wear water shoes or booties if you are sensitive to walking on a rough shore.  As you exit the water, an official will ask for and verify your flight number and name.

The Schedule

Check-in for all participants takes place at Lyons Ferry State Park (LFSP), State Highway 261 in Franklin County on Saturday morning, August 12, 2017.

9:00 am          Check-in and registration begins

10:30 am        Event Registration Closes

11:00 am        Paddlers assemble at the Marina launch and begin at the sound of a horn

11:20 am        Competitive swimmers enter water as their paddler arrives.

11:30 am        All non-competitive, open water swimmers enter in water in flights of 10.

12:00 pm        Stronger swimmers may return swim to LFSP, but must clear the river channel before 1 pm.

1:00 pm          River channel is closed to participants of the SWIM the SNAKE event.  Usual weekend traffic and precautions resume.

Check-Out    As the first flights exit the water, continuing until all swimmers exit the water.

After you finish the event and reach Lyons Ferry Marina or Lyons Ferry State Park, you must provide your participant information to the check-out team before changing and leaving the Marina or the State Park.

Friends and family are not allowed inside the check-out area for safety reasons.


 PLEASE NOTE: The Columbia and Franklin County Sheriff, U.S. Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers patrol boats will monitor this event and be responsible for cancellation of the swim in case of bad weather or Acts of God, right up until the time of the event.


Volunteers will patrol the course in kayaks, canoes, and small craft and serve as lookouts and provide guidance.

Local HAM radio operators provide communication service so everyone keeps informed of current conditions.

Pre-event checks are made with Columbia County Grain Growers, Lyons Ferry elevators to ensure monitoring of local seasonal barge traffic.