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Paddlesports Schools:

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

More Details
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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  :: Yuba River California

Kayaking & Canoeing Yuba River California

North Fork - Sierra City to Downieville
Put-in:  Wild Plum Campground
Take-out:  Downieville
Difficulty:  Class IV+
Length:  13 miles
North Fork - Rosassco Canyon
Put-in:  Downieville
Take-out:  Goodyears Bar
Difficulty:  Class IV-V
Length:  4 miles
North Fork - Goodyears Bar
Put-in:  Goodyears Bar
Take-out:  Highway 49 Bridge
Difficulty:  Class III-IV
Length:  8.5 miles
North Fork Yuba - Bullards Bar Dam to Middle Fork
Put-in:  Bullards Bar Dam
Take-out:  Englebright Lake
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  2.3 miles
Tributary - Lavezzola Creek
Put-in:  Bridge at 2nd Divide
Take-out:  Downieville
Difficulty:  Class IV
Length:  3.3 miles
Tributary - Pauley Creek
Put-in:  Near Second Divide
Take-out:  Downieville
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  3 miles
Middle Fork Yuba River - Upper
Put-in:  Plumbago Crossing
Take-out:  Route 49 Bridge
Difficulty:  Class III to IV+ @ 600 - 1,200 cfs, IV to V @ 1,200 - 2,000 cfs
Length:  21.7 miles
Middle Fork Yuba River - Lower
Put-in:  Route 49
Take-out:  Englebright Lake
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  12 miles
South Fork Yuba River - Kingvale Run
Put-in:  Kingvale
Take-out:  Indian Springs Campground
Difficulty:  Class IV+
Length:  8.7 miles
South Fork Yuba River - Indian Springs Run
Put-in:  Indian Springs
Take-out:  Lake Spaulding
Difficulty:  Class IV, V-
Length:  5.5 miles, 2 miles on lake
Tributary - Fordyce Creek
Put-in:  Fordyce Lake
Take-out:  Lake Spaulding
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  12 miles, 2 miles on lake
South Fork Yuba River - Washington Run
Put-in:  Washington
Take-out:  Edwards Crossing
Difficulty:  Class IV
Length:  14 miles
South Fork Yuba River - Edwards Crossing Run
Put-in:  Edwards Crossing
Take-out:  Purdons Crossing
Difficulty:  Class III to IV @ 800 - 2,000 cfs, IV+ @ 2,000 - 3,000 cfs
Length:  4 miles
South Fork Yuba River - Purdons Crossing Run
Put-in:  Purdons Crossing
Take-out:  Route 49
Difficulty:  Class V @ 800 - 1,500 cfs, V+ @ 1,500 - 3,000 cfs
Length:  4 miles
South Fork Yuba River - Route 49 Bridge
Put-in:  Route 49
Take-out:  Bridgeport
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  7.2 miles
Main - Englebright Dam to Highway 20 Bridge
Put-in:  Englebright Dam
Take-out:  Parks Bar, Hwy 20 Bridge
Difficulty:  Class III
Length:  6 miles


The North Fork Yuba gushes through the heavily forested Tahoe National Forest down a steep canyon, fed by the snowmelt of the Sierra Buttes.  This region gets a large amount of rainfall, and this, combined with the high elevation, creates a unique alpine lushness rarely seen in the rivers of Sierra Nevada. The scenery is characterized by mossy rocks, and stands of pine, fir, and cedar.

There are a number of different runs for intermediate to expert boaters on the North Fork Yuba. The famous Downieville run is an experts-only stretch with one Class IV and V after another. A slightly easier stretch is the section after Goodyears Bar with a more moderate gradient and Class III and IV rapids, although boaters might consider a portage around Maytag (Class V).

Highway 49 runs close by both these routes, offering great access and easy shuttling, but not all rapids can be seen from the highway, making scouting a challenge.

There is one more opportunity farther down to run the North Yuba after Carlton Campground, a six-mile stretch of Class IV and IV+ that runs to the New Bullards Bar Reservoir. The problem with this run though, is that there are no roads where the river meets the flatwater, so boaters have to plan for a 12-mile paddle out, or a tow across the reservoir.