Cle Elum River

The Cle Elum River is a tributary of the Yakima River, approximately 28 miles (45 km) long in the U.S. state of Washington. A Northern Pacific Railway station at the future site of the city of Cle Elum, Washington was named Clealum after the Kittitas name Tie-el-Lum, meaning "swift water", referring to the Cle Elum River. In 1908, Clealum was altered to Cle Elum. This spelling came to be used for the river as well.[5] Some maps in the 1850s also have the river labeled as Samahma River.[6]

Cle Elum River
Mount Stuart 27804.JPG
The upper Cle Elum River valley
CountryUnited States
RegionKittitas County
CityCle Elum
Physical characteristics
SourceCascade Range
 • coordinates47°35′19″N 121°10′1″W / 47.58861°N 121.16694°W / 47.58861; -121.16694[1]
 • elevation6,115 ft (1,864 m)[2]
MouthYakima River
 • coordinates
47°10′37″N 120°59′49″W / 47.17694°N 120.99694°W / 47.17694; -120.99694Coordinates: 47°10′37″N 120°59′49″W / 47.17694°N 120.99694°W / 47.17694; -120.99694[1]
 • elevation
1,990 ft (610 m)[2]
Length28 mi (45 km)[3]
 • locationRoslyn, Washington
 • average945 cuft/s [4]
Basin features
 • rightWaptus River, Cooper River


The river originates in the Cascade Range near Mount Daniel and flows generally south, through Hyas Lake. The river is joined by many tributary streams including Waptus River and Cooper River draining from Cooper Lake, after which it enters Cle Elum Lake. Although a natural lake, Cle Elum Lake's water level and discharge is controlled by Cle Elum Dam, a 165-foot (50 m) high earthfill structure built in 1933. The dam and lake are managed for irrigation purposes by the United States Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Yakima Project.[7] Below the dam, Cle Elum River continues south to join the Yakima River on the west side of the city of Cle Elum.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cle Elum River, USGS, GNIS.
  2. ^ a b Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates.
  3. ^ Cle Elum River Archived 2005-04-20 at the Wayback Machine, The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Cle Elum". Washington Place Names database. Tacoma Public Library. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  6. ^ Meany, Edmond S. (1923). Origin of Washington Geographic Names. University of Washington Press. p. 50. ISBN 9780598974808.
  7. ^ Yakima Project Archived 2007-04-30 at the Wayback Machine, United States Bureau of Reclamation.