Eel River

Redway, California

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Magnificent Wild and Scenic River with fine canoe camping. Draining much of the remote Coastal Range of Northwestern California, the Eel is a big river in a 2,000-foot-deep canyon. The segment described here is a brief sample of the Eel River below Fort Seward. The untamed Eel is a river of extreme flows. Winter flows average more than 13,000 cfs, and floods max out at 560,000 cfs. Late summer flows dwindle to 55 cfs or less. The paddlers’ trick is to be there in the spring when the river is dropping and the weather is dry. Very flashy, Eel River flows sometimes jump 10,000 cfs in a day. Rain is always a possibility. As you traverse the length of the canyon, the remains of Northwestern Pacific Railroad hide behind redwood trees, dart through tunnels, and lay under landslides. The railroad is the only path attempted along the unstable terrain. The few roads that lead to the river are long and mountainous.

Eel River Professional Review and Guide

"Magnificent Wild and Scenic River with fine canoe camping. Draining much of the remote Coastal Range of Northwestern California, the Eel is a big river in a 2,000-foot-deep canyon. The segment described here is a brief sample of the Eel River below Fort Seward. The untamed Eel is a river of extreme flows. Winter flows average more than 13,000 cfs, and floods max out at 560,000 cfs. Late summer flows dwindle to 55 cfs or less. The paddlers’ trick is to be there in the spring when the river is dropping and the weather is dry. Very flashy, Eel River flows sometimes jump 10,000 cfs in a day. Rain is always a possibility. As you traverse the length of the canyon, the remains of Northwestern Pacific Railroad hide behind redwood trees, dart through tunnels, and lay under landslides. The railroad is the only path attempted along the unstable terrain. The few roads that lead to the river are long and mountainous."

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Redway
Skill Level: Moderate
Class: Class I
Season: Best spring
Local Maps: USGS Myers Flat, Blocksburg
Driving Directions: Directions to Eel River

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May 2018