Can anyone recommend a beautiful lake or river – within about a 4 or 5 hour radius of Silicon Valley in California – for easy flatwater kayaking and nice camping? Utica Reservoir in the Stanislaus National Forest is absolutely perfect for me – the lake and scenery are gorgeous, it has lots of coves and inlets to explore, and wilderness camping is allowed anywhere you can paddle to. But I don’t want to keep going back to just this one lake.
I recently paddled on Lake Sonoma – a pretty lake, but there is WAY too much motor boat activity. Speed boats with water skiers, swarms of obnoxious jet skiers, and whole fleets of god-awful patio boats with noisy partiers blasting boom-box music. It was so noisy it was like a cross between a construction zone and a discotheque. Hardly the quiet wilderness experience I’m looking for.
I kayak for the serenity and leisure, not for an adrenaline rush. Which is why I prefer flat protected water to the open ocean. And I like wooded scenery.
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.