I’m trying to plan a canoe trip for myself and a buddy and our two kids. Sometime in the summer when school is out.
Target is a week duration, trying to figure out if I should do the Russian River or the Sacramento.
No idea how to figure out mileage for a trip like this, or where to put in/get out.
I’ve read that Redding to Red Bluff on the Sac is amazing, but I’m not sure how long that would take.
Maybe Ukiah for the Russian River?
Any recommendations here?
The other thing to note, is our “canoe” is more like two canoes outrigged together with an electric motor (solar panels) and big “Grand Canyon” style oars. Crazy right?
Meaning we can motor down the river as well and probably cover some good ground.
How do I calculate river miles on either of these potential trips, and/or figure out places to stop along the way?
Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Redding to Red Bluff is a good 3-4 day trip. It has a few rapids that will break apart your catamaran. You can float as far as you want on the Sacramento. I have paddled from Anderson to Colusa plenty of times over the years. What is your moving water experience? The River is big and wide, but has hazards like sweepers. The water is cold. Rescues are not that easy.
The Russian River is popular in the lower stretches. The upper part is faster and not paddled much. You can do a 3 day trip easily. A week would be much harder to put together.
Redding to Chico on the Sacramento is about 100 miles, and is supposed to be spectacular. This stretch is done (almost) annually as a race: CALIFORNIA 100 - Rivers For Change. That said, there are some rapids, especially up top, that may be troublesome. I think if you start at Red Bluff, you should avoid the worst of the rapids.
Central Valley can be VERY hot in the summer months. Water flows vary based on needs for farmers, assuming we get enough rain to put some water in the big reservoirs.
Sacramento River is relatively natural down to a bit below Chico. Some point after that it becomes all channelized, so you will be paddling between dikes on either side.
I would not call the Sac spectacular, but it is an interesting and dependable river that is more isolated than people expect. Especially the Anderson to Red Bluff part. The flow is dependable, due to Shasta Dam. It is the largest river in the State. The water is always cold. Spring is good except for the insects. . Lots of ticks, mosquitoes and others. The Fall is the best, cooler weather, and the king salmon are running.
The Russian R is very popular in summer. The lower runs are suitable for loaded canoes, but the upper parts have some challenges. There is a lot of private land that has to be negotiated. Careful planning might allow a 3-4 day trip.
The Sacto R is really hot. My best trips have been on the Sacramento River in the fall. Sept is fine and October usually has really good weather. It is possible to camp on islands or BLM land. Long trips are possible and it is easy to travel 20 miles in a day if you want in the current. I have done close to 40 miles in a day and a half with a good bow paddler.
I have lashed canoes together with long poles several times. They are hard to maneuver and they tend to plunge through waves instead of going over them. Not suitable for rivers with hazards or large waves.
Update us with what you decide! I’m weighing the Russian vs Sacramento myself.
The Sac is not channelized above Colusa.