California Canoeing

I have been canoeing now for the last 4 weeks or so with friends in lakes (Big Bear, CA) and the the ocean (Newport Beach Back Bay, CA) and now want to try a river. I am interested in something mild for my first trip. I don’t know too many places near by so thought I’d ask you guys and gals out there. I am looking to do a tandom run that would be a good intro to whitewater. I know my boat would limit what I can do (Discovery 164) but have read here that paddlers say they are OK for Class I or II rivers. (One guy said class III but doubted his opinion) maybe he is really good!

My only thought was the Truckee River in Tahoe but that is still 9 hours away. I am in Orange County California. (1 hour south of Los Angels)

Our skill level is moderate, not real experienced in canoeing but we are two stong guys, experienced outdoorsman, strong swimmers and have been working hard 2-3 times a week paddling and gaining skills to give this a shot.

We are open to a day trip or a weekend lenth trip, camping overnight. We have the gear, the boat and the desire but just don’t know where to begin.

Thanks for your help in advance!


Look to your left at on this web site
Places 2Paddle under California. There are a lot of trip reports listed. I don’t know how many are in your area. Is there a local paddle shop that would give you ideas? Go to your local library and look for a book on “Easy canoing in California”

Have fun,


I kayak, but I do live inbetween Newport and Big Bear.

Have you considered the Colorado? Most of the other rivers I can think of are Class III or too shallow. I believe that there are some paddling clubs up towards Fresno that do trips and I seem to recall that they are working on setting up water trails.