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

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Otter Bar offers all skill levels of whitewater kayak instruction based out of our wilderness lodge on California's pristine Salmo (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: California River Trips  :: Kaweah River California

Kayaking & Canoeing Kaweah River California

North Fork Kaweah River - Upper
 map of North Fork Kaweah River - Upper
Put-in:  Above Burnt Point Creek
Take-out:  Yucca Creek
Difficulty:  Class IV+
Length:  4.1 miles
North Fork Kaweah River - Lower
 map of North Fork Kaweah River - Lower
Put-in:  Yucca Creek
Take-out:  Kaweah Bridge
Difficulty:  Class IV, V-
Length:  6.4 miles
Middle Fork (Hospital Rock)
Put-in:  Hospital Rock
Take-out:  Roadside 4.8 miles below put-in
Difficulty:  Class V @ 400 - 800 cfs, V+ > 800 cfs
Length:  4.8 miles
Middle Fork (Gateway Bridge)
 map of Middle Fork (Gateway Bridge)
Put-in:  Gateway Bridge
Take-out:  Three Rivers
Difficulty:  Class IV @ 500 - 1,000 cfs, IV+ > 1,000 cfs
Length:  6 miles
Three Rivers to Lake Kaweah
Put-in:  Three Rivers Bridge
Take-out:  Lake Kaweah
Difficulty:  Class II, III
Length:  4 miles


The Kaweah (pronounced GA-we-hah) pours out of the gigantic 13,000-foot peaks of Sequoia National Park and flows for 20 miles down to Lake Kaweah, forming one of the steepest runs in the State of California. It is also one of the wildest, most demanding Class IV+ rivers in the state, and is recommended only for experienced boaters. The powerful hydraulics and tight slalom shoots require acute water reading skills and excellent maneuvering ability.

The river basin is in a broad, arid valley and was once inhabited by the Yokut people. They named the river Kaweah to mean “crow” or “raven cry” in their native language.

This river is easily accessible from Highway 198, which runs alongside the river, but is not intrusive. There is a six-mile expert section from the mouth of the East Fork to the mouth of the North Fork, which drops at an average rate of 70 feet per mile through continuous Class IV and Vs. After this section, the river mellows out for a few miles as it meanders through the town of Three Rivers. The rest of this section before the rapid known as Washing Machine (Class IV) provides ample opportunities for surfing and playboating, and lots of fun Class III rapids.