SWIM the SNAKE 2023

SWIM the SNAKE August 12, 2023 Enjoy the River!

August 12, 2023 at Lyons Ferry, Washington USA

Participants are REQUIRED to pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/590668273707

Required waiver for release of liability form available at the time of check-in on Saturday, August 12, 2023

Registration fee is $25.00

Electronic registration for SWIM the SNAKE events will be $25.00.

Paddling check-in will occur at Lyons Ferry Marina, from 9:30 am until 10:30 am, north of the restaurant following the walkway trail to the top of the catwalk. Your check-in assistants will be at a picnic table and assist you with your registration.   You MUST sign a waiver and have a numbered wrist band corresponding with your check-in number.   Paddling events and the original open-water swim will begin at 11 am and 11:30 am, respectively.

The paddleboard/kayak leg begins at 11 am at Lyons Ferry Marina (LFM), near the breakwater (swimmers finish area) and ends at the swimming beach at Lyons Ferry State Park (LFSP).


Participants at the aquatic events REQUIRE a waiver for release of liability PRIOR to engaging in paddling and swimming events.

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!  Event organizers encourage paddlers to join the swimmers after reaching LFSP to assist safety personnel in the river to monitor and if necessary, assist swimmers in the river.  

Swimmers will check-in at picnic tables near the restrooms at Lyons Ferry State Park beginning after 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 12, 2013.    Participants swim from the Lyons Ferry State Park to Lyons Ferry Marina.    Check-in for swimmers (at LFSP) closes at 10:45 am. Swimmers may wish to return swim to the LFSP if they exit the water before 1 p.m., (once they check-in with staff at Lyons Ferry Marina.)  Required waivers must be signed for each participant.  All swimmers and paddlers will receive a numbered swimming cap or wrist band, which MUST be visible to staff and river patrols.    Participants failing to display numbered caps or wrist bands will not be permitted to engage in the events.

Local County Sheriffs, Coast Guard Auxiliary and volunteers will help direct river traffic and assist participants as necessar

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, supporting local competitive youth summer swim programs in Southeast WA. State and other natural resource projects. The NON-REFUNDABLE fee includes a commemorative T-shirt, event insurance, bottled water, and melon bites.

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 REQUIRED to pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/590668273707



All PARTICIPANTS ENGAGING IN SWIM the SNAKE 2023 Events MUST sign a waiver for release of liability.   

  • 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 years 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 Waiver forms will be available at Lyons Ferry Marina (paddlers) and at Lyons Ferry State Park (open water swimmers).

The Paddling/Swimming 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 (departing from Lyons Ferry State Park) usually finish in just under 25 minutes (@ 3 mph) and most swimmers are out of the water within 40 minutes (1.5 mph).  Paddlers (who enter the river at Lyons Ferry Marina) and paddle to Lyons Ferry State Park. Paddlers can cover this distance in less time and if so choose, may paddle back to Lyons Ferry 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. Washington State Parks DISCOVER PASSES are $35.00/year or day passes are $10.00/day.

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 (personal vehicle) 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 help 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 the bridge footings (or abutments).  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 Lyons Ferry Marina. You will be able to see markers as guides on the shore.  Look for the United States flag on the breakwater to guide you to the finish. 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.   PLEASE provide this information to the check-out Captains.  


The Schedule

Check-in for paddling events takes place at Lyons Ferry Marina, at the start of the access trail behind the restaurant.

Check-in for swimming participants takes place at Lyons Ferry State Park (LFSP), State Highway 261 in Franklin County on Saturday morning, August 12, 2023.

9:30 am         Check-in and registration begins

10:30 am       Paddlers registration closes at Lyons Ferry Marina

10:45 am        Swim Event Registration Closes at Lyons Ferry State Park

11:00 am        Paddlers assemble at the Marina breakwater and begin with the horn sounding

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; must clear the river channel before 1 pm. Please check in at LFM.

1:00 pm          River channel closes 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, Franklin and Walla Walla County Sheriff, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 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, 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 Northwest Grain Growers Lyons Ferry elevators, regional barge lines, local Sheriff departments and the US Army Corps of Engineers Juvenile Fish Transportation Program to ensure monitoring of regional seasonal barge traffic.

PLEASE complete the required Waiver for Release of Liability for the event at the time of event check-in.  This document is REQUIRED for ALL participants to engage in SWIM the SNAKE events.

Copies of the REQUIRED WAIVER will be available at time of registration at Lyons Ferry Marina (paddlers) or Lyons Ferry State park (open water swimmers).


Thank you to all our sponsors and volunteers!  You make this all happen!  

  • Port of Columbia
  • Lyons Ferry KOA
  • Columbia County Commissioners
  • Dayton/Columbia County Fund
  • Waitsburg, Washington Commercial Club
  • Blue Mountain RC&D Council
  • Columbia REA
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • Chief Spring’s Fire and Iron Brew Pub
  • Dayton, Washington Chamber of Commerce