Access Points and Reach Information

The Nisqually River Water Trail highlights developed access points to the Nisqually River. Currently, this includes 4 sites: McKenna Park, Nisqually Park at Yelm Powerhouse, 6th Avenue/Nisqually Handicap, and Luhr Beach. Each of these access points offers different amenities and provides a unique experience, from whitewater to salt water.


Each reach has its own set of hazards, including log jams, whitewater, cold water, and varying flow conditions. Other reaches are better suited for intermediate paddlers. The following symbols are designed to help you chose the right river reach for your ability level. The pages for each reach will have these symbols for easy reference. For more details and information, please visit our safety page.

McKenna Park
McKenna Park is located the furthest upstream of all developed access points. Just a few minutes from Yelm, this access point is easily accessible and offers a variety of amenities.

Ownership: McKenna Park is owned and operated by Centralia City Light.
Access Info: Please contact Centralia City Light for the most up-to-date information about access. This site has gates that close overnight; to get the park hours, please call 360-330-7512.
Amenities: McKenna Park has a paved boat launch that is heavily used during the summer months. The park also has playground equipment, picnic tables, and restrooms.
Directions: From Olympia, travel north on I-5, then take Exit 109 (Martin Way). Turn right on Carpenter Ave, then left on Pacific Ave. Go straight through the roundabout on to WA 510 E; continue on WA 510 E/Yelm Hwy SE. Keep right to stay on Yelm Hwy SE. Drive through Yelm. As you cross the Nisqually River, Walt’s Bar and Grill will be on the right. Just past that, on the right, is the entrance to McKenna Park. View map.
Reach Description: This reach features significant hazards, including whitewater! For a more detailed description, including hazards information and downloadable maps, visit the page McKenna Park to Nisqually Park at Centralia Powerhouse.

Nisqually Park at Yelm Powerhouse
Nisqually Park at Yelm Powerhouse is downstream of McKenna Park, and just outside of Yelm. It is easily missed from the highway (see below for directions).

Ownership: Nisqually Park at Yelm Powerhouse is also owned by Centralia City Light.
Access Info: This park also has gates that close overnight. For specific hours, contact 360-330-7512.
Amenities: Nisqually Park has a paved boat launch. It also offers portable toilets which are well maintained, and a few picnic tables.
Directions: From Olympia, travel north on I-5 then take Exit 109 (Martin Way). Turn Right on Carpenter Ave, then Left on Pacific Ave. Go straight through the roundabout to get on WA 510 E; continue on WA 510 E for about 9 miles. Just past Southworth Elementary School (on the right), there will be a road on the left called “Centralia Powerhouse.” Take a left here, then follow the road all the way down until you reach a parking lot and facilities for the Centralia Powerhouse. The ramp is here. View map.
Reach Description: This reach travels through Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Although more undeveloped than other rivers, there are multiple houses and blocks of private property along this reach. For a full description, including safety information and downloadable maps visit the page Nisqually Park at Centralia Powerhouse to 6th Ave.

6th Ave (Nisqually Handicap)
The 6th Ave (also known as Nisqually Handicap) fishing pier and river access site is just a few miles upstream of where the Nisqually River reaches Puget Sound, making it the last access point to the Nisqually River.

Ownership: 6th Ave is owned and operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Access Info: This access site is not gated, and is open year round. For more specific details on hours that site is available, contact WDFW at (360) 249-4628 or visit
Amenities: The access site has a restroom and an ADA fishing pier. It does not have a boat launch, but the parking lot is close enough to the bank to carry non-motorized water craft. A Discover Pass is required to park on site.
Directions: From I-5, take Exit 114 (Nisqually). Turn right on Brown Farm Rd NE then continue straight onto Nisqually Cut Off Road SE. Turn left on Kuhlman Road, then left on Old Pacific Hwy SE. In 0.2 miles, turn right onto 6th Ave SE and follow the road until it dead ends in the access site. View map.
Reach Description: Launching from this site may feature multiple hazards including tidal influence! Visit 6th Ave to Luhr Beach page for more detailed hazards and downloadable maps.

Luhr Beach
Luhr Beach provides access to Puget Sound at the Nisqually Delta. Boaters have the option to paddle up McAllister Creek, across to the mouth of the Nisqually River, or to Anderson Island.

Ownership: 6th Ave is owned and operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Access Info: This is site not gated, but does have hours that it is open. It is open year round. Specific details on the site are available by calling 360-249-4628 or visiting
Amenities: Luhr Beach has a paved boat launch, but low tides can make this inaccessible. Bathrooms are also provided, and the nearby Nisqually Reach Nature Center offers education and citizen science opportunities for visitors. Please note: the Luhr Beach access site is schedule for improvements during the summer of 2017.
Directions: From I-5, take exit 114 (Nisqually). Turn right on Brown Farm Rd NE, then left onto Martin Way NE. Turn right on Meridian Road. At the roundabout, take the first exit to stay on Meridian Road. Turn right on 46th Ave NE, then left on D’Milluhr Rd NE. View map.
Reach Description: This reach features significant hazards, including tidal influence! For downloadable  maps and a list of specific hazards, visit the Luhr Beach page.