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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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Kayaking & Canoeing Cal Salmon River California

Nordheimer Flat Campground to Butler Creek
 photos of Nordheimer Flat Campground to Butler Creek  map of Nordheimer Flat Campground to Butler Creek
Put-in:  Nordheimer Flat Campground
Take-out:  Butler Creek
Difficulty:  Class IV (500-2,000 cfs)

V (2,000-5,000 cfs) <
Length:  6.4 miles
Butler Creek to Oak Bottom
 photos of Butler Creek to Oak Bottom  map of Butler Creek to Oak Bottom
Put-in:  Butler Creek
Take-out:  Oak Bottom Campground
Difficulty:  Class IV (500-2,000 cfs)

V (2,000-5,000 cfs)
Length:  5.3 miles


The Salmon River is a 19.6-mile tributary of the Klamath River in Northern California. It rises in the Salmon-Trinity Alps Primitive area, one of the most isolated regions of the state and is fed by melt-off from the Sawtooth glacier as well as abundant rain in this region. It is formed by two rivers, the North Fork and the South Fork, which join together at the Forks of the Salmon, California to form the main stem of the Salmon River. Wooley Creek joins the Salmon about four miles in and contributes nearly as much flow as the North Fork.

Congress protected all four rivers in 1981 as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Cal Salmon is completely free flowing, without dams or diversions, and is considered one of the most pristine rivers in California. The river’s 751-square-mile watershed is in the Klamath National Forest, and about a quarter of this land is managed to protect and enhance its old growth characteristics and habitat.

Nick-named the “Cal Salmon” to distinguish it from the larger and better-known Salmon River in Idaho, kayakers and rafters know it as one of the finest whitewater runs in the country. Boaters will enjoy a delightful series of Class IV and V rapids separated by deep, aquamarine pools. The scenery along the river is lush due to heavy rainfall in the area, and many creeks cascade down through the narrow gorge.

The season to run this river is April – June, and most take 2 – 3 days to explore the whole stretch. A road runs the whole length of the river so access is easy, but this run is recommended only for expert boaters. Storms move in quickly on the Salmon, so always be prepared with wetsuits and extra layers.