Cle Elum River

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Cle Elum River
Mount Stuart 27804.JPG
The upper Cle Elum River valley
Country United States
State Washington
Region Kittitas County
 - right Waptus River, Cooper River
City Cle Elum
Source Cascade Range
 - elevation 6,115 ft (1,864 m) [1]
 - coordinates 47°35′19″N 121°10′1″W / 47.58861°N 121.16694°W / 47.58861; -121.16694 [2]
Mouth Yakima River
 - elevation 1,990 ft (607 m) [1]
 - 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 [2]
Length 28 mi (45 km) [3]

The Cle Elum River is a tributary of the Yakima River, approximately 28 miles (45 km) long in the U.S. state of Washington.

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, 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.[4] Below the dam, Cle Elum River continues south to join the Yakima River on the west side of the city of Cle Elum.

A Northern Pacific Railway station at the future site of the city of Cle Elum 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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Google Earth elevation for GNIS coordinates.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cle Elum River, USGS, GNIS.
  3. ^ Cle Elum River, The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000.
  4. ^ Yakima Project, United States Bureau of Reclamation.
  5. ^ "Cle Elum". Washington Place Names database. Tacoma Public Library. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-05.