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Paddlesports Schools:

Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School
Located in:
Forks of Salmon, CA

More Details
Our Website
Otter Bar offers all skill levels of whitewater kayak instruction based out of our wilderness lodge on California's pristine Salmo (more...)
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South Fork - South Fork Road Bridge to Smith River Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the Smith River

South Fork - South Fork Road Bridge to Smith River Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  South Fork Road Bridge
Take Out:  Smith River Confluence
Difficulty:  Class III first 12 miles , Class IV IV-V in South Fork Gorge , Class V IV-V in South Fork Gorge
Gradient:  35 ft/mi
Run Length:  13 miles; longer and shorter trips possible.
Current Streamflow:  9620 cfs @ 12/14/2016 08:45 AM - SMITH R NR CRESCENT CITY CA, reading taken from USGS
Good Level:  500-3,000 cfs
Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, October, November, December
Permit:  None presently required.
Character/Similar To:  Nearly 12 miles of exciting Class III whitewater before approaching South Fork Gorge, a mile of Class IV-V rapids. Most of the rapids are technical boulder gardens at low and moderate flows.
Hazards:  South Fork Gorge. Brush and snags in the river channel.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Land Ownership:  Mostly National Forest
Wilderness:  No
Camping on River:  Excellent beaches for camping along the river. Big Flat Forest Service campground is just upstream from the put-in. State park campsites available 3 miles below the take-out.
Location:  In the Pacific Region (CA), 400 miles Northwest of Sacramento
Shuttle Logistics:  Put-in: Turn south off Hwy 199, 3 miles east of Jedediah Smith State Park, onto South Fork Road and follow it about 13 miles upstream. Put-in at the bridge across the river.

Take-out: To avoid running South Fork Gorge, take-out via a trail from a turnout beside South Fork Road near Caltrans marker 2.05. Those running the gorge may choose among several take-outs. Two of the easier take-outs may be found at the state park campground, 2 miles downstream from the gorge and the confluence with the Main Smith, or at the Hwy 199 bridge a mile and a half farther.

Towns near South Fork - South Fork Road Bridge to Smith River Kayaking

Arcata California
Ashland Oregon
Eureka California
Gold Beach Oregon
Klamath Falls Oregon
Redding California

Other Resources

Conservation Organizations
  • American River Conservancy
  • American River Watershed Group
  • Disabled Adventure Outfitters' (DAO)-
  • Protect American River Canyons
  • Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign
  • South Yuba River Citizens League
  • Pacific Coast Kayak Clubs
  • California Floaters Society
  • California Kayak Friends
  • Hydraulic Hooligans
  • River City Whitewater Club
  • Sequoia Paddling Club
  • Shasta Paddlers
  • Sierra Club San Francisco Bay RTS
  • Stanford Kayak Club
  • Western Waters Canoe Club
  • Paddling Sites
  • California Whitewater Rafting
  • Dreamflows
  • Travel Guides
  • California Vacation & Travel Guide