What's your favorite kayaking spot - US?

Anyone have a favorite place they’ve kayaked? What makes this spot so great? I’m trying to plan a few trips for this year and need ideas. Oh, and is there a good time to go to your favorite spot?

Flaming Gorge, Utah/ Wyoming

– Last Updated: Jan-09-07 1:46 AM EST –

The Gorge is beautiful, 6000+ foot in elevation, 90 miles long, 300+ miles of shoreline. Named by John Wesley Powell.

What do I love the most? Wildlife and fishing.

Osprey and turkey vultures are everywhere, bald/golden eagles are common. Expect to share the water with river otters, you will also see bighorn along the shore, and Wyoming is carpeted with antelope, coyotes, and the biggest jack rabbits you've ever seen.

The north end fishing includes large n smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and trout.

The south includes trout, mackinaw (lake trout), trout, and kokaneee salmon (landlocked sockeyes).

Crawfish and huge carp are lakewide, the bigger craws are to the north.

State records from the Gorge: Lake Trout 50+ lbs. Rainbow trout 25+ lbs. Brown trout 30+ lbs. Channel catfish 25+ lbs.

200-400' red cliffs dominate the south end of the lake, dotted with old-growth ponderosa pine. Depth in the south runs from 150' to 400' up near the dam.

The north is high plains country, low eroded bluffs, and big skies. Campspots are plentiful.

The downside?

It's a high, northern lake, very much seasonal, not a fools paradise.

The water temps stay low, and it's deep, the winds are extreme at times (at times= every afternoon or more), the wind-driven chop can be huge and sudden, extreme monsoon conditions in the summer, and the standard western hazards, which are mostly a hazard to your pet: rattlesnakes, cougars, and coyotes (leashes for yap dogs that you want to keep).

Once school is out, there is a lot of boaters, but it's a huge place, which is why I don't care if I 'hotspot' the Gorge by singing her praises here.

Y'all could all show up on the same weekend and still have a great time.

Don't forget some lemons for the fish.

Not for spring

– Last Updated: Jan-09-07 2:47 AM EST –

Flaming Gorge is indeed beautiful but it's too far north for a pleasant camping experience in spring.

I paddled around it in Sept. 2005, which was a late "monsoon" season. Lots of t-storms. It's a beautiful place, but keep an eye out for bailout places if the wind whips up. At least one section has no place to get out for miles.

If you go, get the Fish-N-Map for Flaming Gorge. Even though I don't fish, it has a good scale for paddling and shows mileage in big circled numbers.

I don't understand why more kayakers aren't there; it's a great summer-early fall paddling place. Might be a bit too wind-prone for canoes except in the lower, canyon section.

Geez, all this real paddling talk is only making my cabin fever worse!

if you click on the little head
next to someones name they might have filled that answer in on their profile…

then again…some might not have…

Couldn’t agree more on the Fish n Map
On the water, their map is a valuable resource. They show campsites not seen on other maps, smaller campsites, perfect for yakkers. (fishnmap.com)

If ones plans include exploring some of the dirt roads around the lake, also bring the National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Flaming Gorge NRA topo map, #704.

Not US but not far from it.
South of Ensenada, to Isla Todos Santos, Punta Banda and the coast south of there. It’s an hour drive south of San Diego.

In the same spirit…
Not far from the boarder north, Vancouver Island!

There, you can paddle the rest of your life time and not repeat the same route.

Not to mention change of companions, whale, dophine, bear…

For a place reasonably close to home, Channel Islands National Park off the California coast. I’d also include Catalina. Although it’s not NPS property, Catalina is still one of the channel islands & is a great place in its own right. CINP has so much cool scenery, beach camping, solitude, diving, etc. The islands are a slice of California (and pre-California) history as well. For a short foray across the border, I agree w/ Seadart - only about an hour south of the border gets you to the Punta Banda area and Todos Santos Islands.

Lake Tahoe In Summer
But come prepared to party!

The natural beauty of the lake is just awesome, but it is crowded in summer, and people come to party.

…River right where it hits the Potomac at

Harper’s Ferry.

it isn’t particularly difficult or particularly

pretty, but I’ve never been on that stretch and

not come off with my jaw aching from laughing too hard.

There just seems to be something about it that

attracts fun like a magnet

Lake Superior
Not sure where you are in the US, but Lake Superior is my favorite. Apostle Islands in particular and there are at least a couple places for outfitting if you need it.

Better in winter

West coast of San Juan Island, WA.

Launch from the county park in mid/late May - usually 3-4’ wind waves from the straight, but good chance of paddling with the resident Orca.

Split the difference and get Autumn?
I haven’t been there at all.

Chesepeake Bay
I think my favorite Touring Kayaking area is the eastern shore of the Chesepeake Bay, Areas around Rock Hall, and the Aberdeen Provong grounds come to mind also. Janes Island State Park in southern Maryland is also a nice area.

My next favorite area is the Susquehanna River, on the western shore, at Long Level. This area is south of the town of Wrightsville (Route 30).

fall is perfet!
To be honest, I don’t think summer is all that bad…

I am not up for the extreme cold water boating like Chuck, but then I must admit summer is corwded, but then if you like to party, that’s not a bad thing.

And Fall after the kids go back to school is about as perfect as it gets

Lake Superior
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is breathtaking in summer. The tour boats passing by every half hour take a bit away from the experience, but overall, this is a nature-lover’s paradise in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lake Michigan day trip -
Waugoshance Point at Wilderness SP. Not the scenery of Pictured Rocks, but impressive solitude. Until global warming lowers the lake a few more feet, the point/islands are not accessible by foot, so all the folks in the SP stay away. Rocky shoals, which make for interesting kayaking, keep all the power boats away. We were out on a sunny Saturday late last July. Not a single motored craft in sight. We saw three people all day, and two of them were from the same canoe. Our closest encounter with a person/animal was with a bald eagle (about 25 yards). Oh yeah, and the water is crystal clear as far down as you can see.

Lake Superior and the Wolf River
Sea kayaking on Lake Superior and whitewater playboating on the Wolf River are my two favorite kayaking destinations.