Bell Yellowstone Tandem VS. Old Town Cascade

New paddler here!

Good morning all,

I’d like some feedback should anyone have any knowledge about the two canoes mentioned in the title.

I have the what seems like rare opportunity to purchase either a tandem yellowstone or a old town cascade. I’ve been searching for weeks for something along either of those lines in royalex. I will be mainly running rivers from slow moving water to occasional class 1/2 rapids. Maybe class 3? I’d love something I could camp for up to a few days as well.

Yellowstone is 15.5ft- will need skid plates as there are minor river rash on both ends. 850$ ish

Cascade is 14.5ft- near mint condition- really nice boat. $650 ish

I am 6ft tall and around 235lbs. Would likely be solo 80/90% of the time.

I know this is the cliché do all canoe request but would love to hear your opinions on this. I’m very eager to start!

Thanks you much.

  • Tater

Never seen the Yellowstone tandem in these parts. Cascade is pretty common, and I have a couple of friends that paddle them and love them as solos. Not the boat for me, but if those are the choices I’d go with the Cascade.

Personally, I’m not a big believer in the “one boat does it all” approach. If 80-90% of your time is paddling solo, I’d suggest getting a good solo boat first, then buying a cheap tandem (tons of them around), or hooking up with a buddy when you paddle tandem. I’m about your size, and the Yellowstone looks a little too small to me to be a good tandem anyway - especially if camping is involved.

I know you need to buy what’s available, but if you could find a Yellowstone Solo I think you’d love it. About the same length as the Cascade, but narrower through the middle. There are a bunch of royalex “river” boats that were made by different manufacturers before royalex’s demise - Bell had the Yellowstone Solo, Wenonah had the Argosy (and Vagabond), Mohawk had the Odyssey and Solo 14 (and 13). If they are for sale now they are usually pricey and go quick, but it might be worth a look.

I have had a Yellowstone Solo for years, and its done everything I’ve asked of it - lakes, rivers (up to class II, class III would be a stretch) and camping. It will cary a ton of gear for camping. I have it outfitted with bags and thigh straps for easy whitewater, but it rarely gets used for that (I have a whitewater boat).

There are also composite versions of these 14’ boats by a number of manufacturers. I also have the composite Wildfire, which is also a great boat:

If I could only keep one it would be a tough choice, but Yellowstone Solo would definitely be a contender.

I know I am off topic, but think about it - if not now in the future.

Thanks for the detailed response. The solo is definitely an option I was looking at. However as far as I know the only one for sale in the country is in Oregon unfortunately. I am leaning slightly towards the cascade at the moment due to being about 200$ cheaper and it much much better condition.

Do have you ever paddled any of your friend’s cascades? It seems like it checks a lot of boxes for me in my mind.


Funny you should mention a Yellowstone Solo. I’m selling mine, so if anyone near CT is interested, let me know. Great boat, but I can’t kneel anymore, so I’m going to get a Magic to replace it.

No, but here is one of the two friends - in his element:


He does everything you describe, and keeps up with me just fine.

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I have a Yellowstone tandem and for two and camping gear it is small. We bought ours some years back in mint condition for 900. We use it for a day tripper.

I am not fan of combi boats either so suggest you pick the boat that fills your priority need which seems to be solo.

Wish I was closer. CT is a bit of a stretch from SC!

Have you ever paddled it solo? My thought was to add a kneeling thwart or seat towards the middle. I know it’s a few inches wider than the Yellowstone solo.

Also what about simply just reoutfitting it as a dedicated solo? One center seat. Trying to think outside the box.

Its 34 inches wide at the center. A bit wide for a solo but you can put in a kneeling thwart and paddle it heeled over a little and get satisfactory results.

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Sorry - this is not a Old Town Cascade. It is a Mad River Courier. I’ve been no help at all.

No worries! I appreciate the insight on the Yellowstone solo.

OT Cascade is great solo for bigger guy

I have a Cascade I’ve outfitted with a center seat and paddled Class 3+ whitewater

Has enough volume I can overnight in it

The Cascade has been my WW canoe for 25+ years

It won’t disappoint you

This just showed up on CL… not sure if it fits what you are looking for as I have no experience with any of these. Someone else please chime in about the boat and the price. Nice looking boat.

Wenonah SoloPlus Ultralight Canoe - boats - by owner - marine sale (

Nice! When you say overnight. Literally 1 day or do you think you could go for 3 days? 7+ ?

Great looking boat! But definitely out of my price range for my first one.

No reason the Cascade couldn’t support you for 3-7 days on the river if you pack efficiently

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I’'m 6’1" and 235 and have a long sleeve length.

I’ve not paddled the Bell Yellowstone so I can’t help you there.

My Cascade, being a converted tandem, gives me a lot of room in the cockpit so I can move around easily w/o worrying about pitching over the gunwale. I do not use a pedestal seat, just a normal bench seat and kneel when needed. The canoe will track reasonably well , despite being a WW canoe, so it will move you down river promptly.

Here is a picture of me on a section of a Class III run.

I’ve been searching 10+ years for another Cascade and only recently was able to find one. so they are not that easy to find.

If you can’t make up you mind between the two canoe, do what I did a number of years ago. Buy them both and use both, until decide which one you will keep. Sell the other.

Great picture! We’re about the same size then. Both boats are about 3 hours away in opposite directions. Decisions!

@Waterbearer do you happen to know the width of the cascade? And it’s 14’ 10 long correct?

Just measured mine. 34 inches outer gunwale to outer gunwale. 14 feet 9 inches long

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