SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Feather River - Oroville to Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide
"Reliable flows provide year-round easy paddling through the Oroville Wildlife Refuge. Most of this low-flow stretch of river has only a few gravel bars and a couple of snags to challenge the paddler. Fly-fishing for steelhead is very popular in the low-flow section between Oroville and Thermalito. The most serious paddling concern on this easy run is the outflow from Thermalito Afterbay, an offstream reservoir connected by pumped storage facilities to Oroville Dam. Releases from the Afterbay to the river cause severe turbulence across the entire channel when the outflow exceeds 5,000 cfs. High releases may occur any time of year. Below Thermalito many powerboats ply the river when flows allow. The 8,000-acre Oroville Wildlife Area borders 10 miles of the Feather River. The area allows primitive camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and in-season hunting. With a bird list of 178 species, the refuge is a favorite of bird watchers."
--Charlie Pike, Paddling Northern California (Falcon Guides).
This river run was a great way to spend the day, especially if you are a beginner trying to get moving water expirience. Be prepared to paddle if you want to get anywhere; the water is THAT calm. The only trouble we had was with the "access directions." The map did not include ANY of the roads needed for the various river access points, nor did it include key information such as a road splitting off to the left...Therefore, when doing this run, double-check driving instructions with mapquest or google maps. Satellite photographs of the area are especially helpful when driving through the wildlife refuge. The only gas/food/gear-up/wind down spots are upriver near Hwy 70 where you put in. Other than that, the run was "as advertised." The birds were fantastic, the ripples were nice, the Thermolito Afterbay was crazy. We went home happy and tired. What more could you ask for?
Late in March, we ended up in the Thermalita Afterpond. Nice little coves, even a secret waterfall hiden by a fallen tree. Lots of waterfowl, easy to observe the wildlife as you quietly float around. We take our dogs canoeing with us - A Great Dane, a Whippet, and an Aussie/Lab mix. They enjoyed this paddle more than any other on our trip. Good smells.
Sign in/up to upload photos.