Russian River, CA Family Canoe Trip ?'s

I am planning my first river canoe trip to the Russian River in Northern California sometime in early June.

I Have a few questions:

  1. What part of the river would you recommend running? Please be specific.

  2. What is the best family spot to camp? I have a family and don’t want to be around a bunch of parting if I can help it.

  3. Is taking my 21 month old son on a Russian River Canoe trip a bad idea? I’m an intermediate paddler and my wife a beginner. We are both very strong swimmers and live/play right near the ocean.

  4. Any other tips?



Russian River Gulch
All I know is that the Gulch were it opens to the ocean is a beutiful spot. There is a large pool before it gets rough.

Years ago, I heard there was a lot of partying on the Russian River… Do not know if that is still true.

No opinion on taking a 21 month old on the river.

I took the extended family up there for two weeks a couple years ago, but we rented a house and cottage over in Capser. Casper Beach is right around the point from Rusian Gulch, and there is an RV park there, We took six kayaks and did the Noyo and Narvaro Rivers. Very calm, but not nearly as pretty as Russian Gulch

We did a camping tour in the van the year before, but we stayed at a rental on that part of the trip.

I paddled the sea caves at Fort Brag a couple of times, and I loved it. Once with a guide, and once with a local friend, but that is not a family/beginner trip.

I would talk to some of the outfitters
in the area. I know the SOAR inflatable canoe company ( is there in Healdsburg and rents out their canoes for several sections (Russian River Adventures.) There are also a couple of outfitters that rent aluminum canoes, and will help you with a shuttle if you have your own boat. Any of them could probably answer your questions as to which section is family appropriate with camping.

Also check out, I think they had a good writeup on a couple reaches of the Russian.

my wife and I did a long paddle putting in up river and then paddling down to the mouth and back quite a few years ago.

We paddled just into the ocean enough to see the seals on the sand bars, and then turned back before we got to the breakers.

It was so long ago, that I don’t remember the whole trip, but the current could not have been much, since we paddled both directions.

I do remember that there were very few other boats, and the scenery was nice.

Hope it is still the same !


I floated the Russian
in July of last year- my wife and I took a short 5 mile trip and used Rivers Edge outfitter in Headlsburg. Easy float-