Easy Canoe Rivers in California

Easy Canoe Rivers in California
The Golden State of California is an ecologically diverse and varied state. From the hundreds of miles of Pacific coastline and many state and national parks, there are limitless opportunities for outdoor activities. California also is fortunate to have many rivers within its borders. Canoeing the many miles of creeks and rivers is a wonderful way of getting out to explore the backcountry. There are several rivers suitable for easy paddles.

Sacramento River

The Sacramento River is an easy river to paddle and tour. Putting in at Redding and paddling to the Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area takes canoeists through Class I and II rapids.

Canoeists can keep an eye out for nesting bald eagles and the yellow-billed cuckoo, which makes nests in the Woodson Bridge area. Part of this section of the river goes through a jungle-like riparian zone, some of the last remaining in California.

Spring and fall are the recommended seasons for paddling as the temperatures are more comfortable. Summertime temperatures tend to be around 85 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a hot excursion.

Canoe rentals are available at the Driftwood RV Park near Woodson Bridge. Driftwood can arrange drop-offs and pickups. Driftwood also offers guided canoe tours of the river.

Driftwood RV Park and Fishing Resort
24630 Tehama-Vina Road
Los Molinos, CA 96055

Tuolumne River

The Tuolumne River flows through parts of the Sierra Mountains and Yosemite National Park. The 10 miles between Lagrange and Roberts Ferry takes paddlers through Class I waters with some overhanging brush, sweepers and strainers. Spring through fall are the recommended times for paddling this section of the river.

Be aware of flood warnings and weather conditions because sections of this river bottleneck and can present safety hazards during heavy rain.

Many shorebirds and songbirds can be spotted along the river. Black bear and fox frequent the region. The Tuolumne River flows more than 120 miles.

Canoe West offers canoeing lessons and instruction for those seeking to enhance their canoeing skills. Canoe West operates out of Yreka and takes trips onto the Tuolumne River and Klamath River.

Canoe West
P.O. Box 931
Yreka CA 96097-0931

Middle Klamath River

The Middle Klamath River, particularly the section between the Iron Gate Dam and the Scott River, takes paddlers through Class I and II water. The river does not see as much traffic as many of the state's other rivers.

There are frequent deer, bear and eagle sightings along the river. There are campsites and areas to fish along the Klamath. Be prepared to portage or wait along the river's edge during heavy rain as sections can bottleneck and make larger rapids and river obstructions.

There are not many difficult stretches along this section of the river, making for an easy and leisurely paddle.

Humboats Kayak Adventures offers canoe rentals out of Eureka, California.

Humboats Kayak Adventures
Dock A, Woodley Island Marina
Eureka, CA 95501

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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