Lack of paddling location reviews

We travel full-time in our motorhome so we are in lots of lakes around the country and I’m surprised (and disappointed) at the lack of photos and reviews about paddling locations. We rely on RV park reviews, local attraction reviews, restaurant reviews all the time but, when it comes to paddling locations, it’s missing. Either we’re going to places no one has gone before or there’s just not any reviews. Please submit. It’s a great help to all of us. Thanks for listening.


Other resources:

  • Here in the NW, there are plenty of guidebooks.
  • You can pose questions to various forums before your trip.
  • You can search out kayaking clubs online and get info from them.

Sounds like you are in a great position to do reviews and post them. There are guidebooks available, online groups in states/areas.

So the question could be ‘is there a way to link all of these?’

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I’ve used google earth to find put ins and hopefully decent places to paddle/pole.

Fun one was getting together with Steve from Idaho and meeting up at a put in that was iirc, 7 hours away from him and 2300 miles away from me…ended up being “not too bad” and it was great poling in a whole different type of atmosphere than what I was used to.

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To be honest, I try not to encourage more people in the places I go.
I tend to try and get away when I go out.


Most paddle enthusiasts have a library of guide books.

Many county web sites list public launches, if they are available.

A lot of information and links can be found on our CPA web site.

I tried to update a paddling location…

The comment I added was posted right away.

The picture I added was accepted, but is not visible yet. I assume a human has to review these, so ok it has been less than 24 hours.

The update amenities screen freezes, it never advances past the please wait. I tried several times on different days.

Have not tried the other options yet.

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Two reasons I do not post any reviews of locations:

  1. I don’t like the existing crowding that really exploded last year. What should have been a very quiet year (“stay at home,” remember?!?) turned into a nonstop parade of RVers driving here from at least 47 states (we counted). People were coming here from NY, FL, and a plethora of states that we normally get relatively few visitors from. And it began happening during the time when those states were the worst COVID-infected in the USA.

  2. In addition to that, travelers hopping from one state to others always pose a threat of bringing in AIS-contaminated paddlecraft. Motorized boats or anything with a bilge must be inspected by state inspectors prior to launching, but some venues exempt paddlecraft from this. Not all states are vigilant about AIS, so paddlers ARE a risk, though lower-risk than bilged boats.

Although I always wash and hand-dry my boat after literally every use, many paddlers don’t bother. I also only paddle in two places here, and I sure don’t want “people from away” to bring in AIS, possibly resulting in a total BAN ON BOATING. Water quality and supply is a huge, huge thing in this drought-stricken and agricultural region.

Even though having more paddlers show their numbers would be good in one way, it has become more of a negative under the twin threats of human disease and AIS, not to mention overcrowding of the outdoors generally, in some regions,


I have to second the first reason. I went to one of my favorite paddling places today. It was mobbed, parking lot full, probably 40 more cars parked along the road. 20 years ago the lot wasn’t full even on the weekend. On the water the paddling was marred by loud radios and the usual shouting between people 10 feet away from each other—lots and lots of people. All stopping places were occupied. I’ve stopped posting location reviews because of this. I restrict my paddling to spring and fall plus very early morning midweek in summer.

There are paddling guidebooks written for all of the places I’ve ever visited. They may not be available for every state or area but I can’t imagine there’s anyplace that hasn’t been paddled by someone and would expect there to be some sort of write up that may be available, perhaps only locally. Do you check local libraries when you’re passing through? That might offer some info…

App store has “Go paddle”. Developed by and with input from users.

There are plenty of sites that have river descriptions and information. is a good example. Also you can reach out to local paddling clubs for info. I get several requests a month regarding rivers and services in Tx, Ok and Ar.

I can relate to your post. I just recently joined and was excited to see the paddling map. I dove right into it because I’m always looking for interesting areas. Kinda disappointing. Just a bunch of red dots with no description at all so I started adding info to some of the spots around me and I intend to do more…

…On the other side of the page I can relate to what @pikabike writes. We have also been having a massive influx of folks over the last year and a half from, well, everywhere. I have seen plates from every corner and in the middle. It makes for some very crowded put-ins as well as the waters themselves. Things they are achangin’…

When I find a gem I will continue to share here on and hope others will respect the place.

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I often post my trips on here, but don’t and won’t write location reviews. Not interested in contributing to the amount of human pressure on often delicate ecosystems.

I am torn between sharing and protecting. I like exposing people to the places I know, but I am even hesitant about posting my trips. I respect many of the regulars on this site, and trust their ethics on the water so I share in the forums.

It is a catch 22 in that if people can experience these places then maybe they can become agents for protection, but what seems to so often happen is they are loved, used, and misused to their detriment. I think those that really want to will do the due diligence to find such places. Maybe, this sounds selfish, but I have seen over many years places I truly love suffer from over use. I am loath to contribute to that problem.

There certainly is a monetary pressure by the outdoor industry to make such places popular. I have seen magazine articles directly contribute to changing a little known place into a place of parties and littering. Even if the folks don’t abuse the place, the human pressure can be increased to an intolerable level.


True that. A catch 22, indeed.

The BC coast has been under siege by logging, shipping, oil, etc. for so long and while I worry that folks reading my trip reports may overrun some of my favorite places, being able to show the Canadian government by web visits (people clicking on links) that people are actively using these areas for recreation helps them legislate against the large private interests and keep spaces wild.

Always torn, though.

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Just imagine how many fewer and smaller the areas that are left on the east coast, and how many people live close to them. I don’t know the solution, other than limiting access, and requiring permits. Which is fairly common anymore at some locations. However, it is nice to go places where this isn’t necessary yet. I suppose it is selfish on my part, but it is so disappointing to have such wild places become less wild or worse.

The industry term for it is Industrial Recreation, which neatly sums up why it is so awful. It’s another form of not just using natural resources, but of using them UP to make money or cater to the whims of people demanding more, more, more. It makes humans the be-all and end-all, regardless of anything else.

The effects on land were seen with the explosive popularity of mtn biking, OHV and ATV recreation, and other human and human-affiliated playtime.

One of the two—count ‘em, TWO—nice paddling places within 75 miles of my home is beginning to show the effects of kowtowing to the powerboat/wakeski proponents, doubtless with plans to open it to the now-prohibited jet skis. Fishermen both shoreline and boat-based, paddlers of all kinds, and water-based birds will be shoved aside as bykill.

I started this tread and I’m surprised at the reactions. I do see everyone’s point about keeping your spot(s) secret so they’re not overwhelmed. How does this apply to restaurants, campgrounds, service people (plumbers, electricians, etc.), local attractions? Aren’t they the same thing? We travel in our motorhome around the country and I can tell you that the reviews and photos are extremely helpful. I, myself, will continue to post because it’s been so useful for me to have someone else do it for me.

First, I don’t do those other things with the intention of being away from people.
Second although I don’t post about restaurants, plumbers or the like, if I did it would be with the intent of helping a good business be successful. The rivers and lakes I travel don’t need to be successful through popularity. As for campgrounds, I don’t go to them.
These are not the same types of things to share.
It is closer related to asking me where my favorite fishing spot is or where I like to elk or deer hunt. I don’t want to share those resources and making them popular would cause me to have to find somewhere else.