Category Archives: river

American River California

american 1

American River, Central Sierra Nevada

Donner Pass – Gold Country California
El Dorado National Forest
Folsom Lake, Sacramento, CA

This is a major river in the Sierra Nevada landscape, as well as in the Gold Rush history of California. Many mining camps, railways, old abandon mines, dirt roads, hiking trails, mountain biking routes, waterfalls and even ancient artifacts can be found on the back roads. The native tribes once heavily populated these river canyons since the location is ideal, half way between the big mountains and the sunny warm valley.

snowNorth fork of American River drains most of the Donner Pass region, all along Interstate 80. Indian Creek is a feeder stream coming from Sugar Pine Reservoir. No large reservoirs exist along this American North Fork, although there is a wide section of the river, above Auburn, called the North Fork Lake.

Middle fork of American River comes down from the Granite Cheif Wilderness, next to Lake Tahoe; Foresthill (3225′ elev) is a small mountain community w/ a ranger station; French Meadows Reservoir is way back in there, toward the highest peaks @ 9000′ elevation.

South fork of American River parallels the State Highway 50, which connects Placerville to Lake Tahoe via the Kyburz Pass. Union Valley Reservoir and Ice House Reservoir make up this part of the drainage for abundant snow melt.

The north and middle flows of this river join in Auburn, near the freway @ I-80. The south fork joins the rest downhill in the Central Valley, at Folsom Lake, NW of Sacramento, CA

rapids: turbulent, fast moving water

canoe

River Rafting on the American River

This is a rapid moving river, with serious force. Not to be taken lightly. Wear life vest and stay alive; Don’t swim in dangerous conditions and spare your life!

Go whitewater river rafting with experienced leaders, who offer professional guide rafting tours. Always wear a life vest in the water. Toying around with an inflatable cheap raft on a big river, can leads to all kinds of trouble.

rafting

American River south fork James W. Marshall discovered gold in January of 1848 on the South Fork of the American River

  • backpackfish
  • camp
  • fish
  • hike
  • kayak
  • mountain bike
  • museums
  • off-road
  • raft
  • swim

Numerous feeder creeks and rivers drain into American River:

  • Indian Creek
  • Owl Creek
  • Pilot Creek
  • Rubicon River
  • Secret Ravine
  • Silver Creek (flows to south fork)
  • Silver Fork of the American River (flows to north fork)

camp

Camping & Campgrounds on the American River

south fork (CA Hwy 49 & US Hwy 50)

middle fork (CA Hwy 49)

north fork (CA Hwy 49 & I-80)

hiker

 

americanriverabove

Auburn Lodging near the American River with numerous unique overnight options closeby. Colfax, the rail-town up the interstate, also has small motels and inns, most are freeway close. Foresthill is a residential area near the Middle Fork of the American River. Placerville, on the South Fork has more hotel choices. See more on Historic Gold Country

 

rafters

Towns along American River:

kayaking


Kings River California

Kings River California
Sierra Nevada
Kings Canyon National Park

snow

Kings River is the longest river in the Sierra Nevada mountains, spanning a 70+ miles of terrain from edge of the Eastern Sierra to the western Sierra foothill reservoirs, and down to the agricultural San Joaquin Valley @ Fresno, CA

Classification/Mileage:
Wild — 65.5 miles
Recreational — 15.5 miles
Total — 81.0 miles

Parks & Forests along Kings River:

Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia National Forest
Sierra National Forest

The 272-mile long Kings River drops sharply in elevation from its headwaters high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on its way to the Central Valley, flowing just south-east of Fresno. The dramatic descent generates electric power for dams and the river also helps irrigate cropland and provides fresh water to Central Valley communities.

fish

Sierra Nevada / Central California

Kings is the mighty river of the whole Sierra Nevada mountain range. Deep granite gorge, wild and dangerous, longest running river with abundant waterfalls, tributaries and runs along side a giant cavern too. The giant, rocky canyon for this big river is so impressive, that the created a National Park around it. Hence the name, Kings Canyon!

The snowmelt starts way up in the high elevation backcountry near the tiny alpine lakes at Kearsarge Pass and the tallest peaks of Mount Whitney. The Kings River passes thru Kings Canyon National Park and spills out into the large Pine Flat Reservoir, on the westen edge of the wilderness. The river continues down to the great California Central Valley to sloughs & irrigation canals for the big agriculture crops, which feed the world.

Views of High Sierra Lakes

hiker

Kings River Recreation

  • backpacking

  • beaches

  • boating

  • canyons

  • car camping

  • creeks

  • forests

  • fishing

  • hiking

  • kayaking

  • rafting

  • reservoirs

  • RV camping

  • swimming

  • tubing

  • waterfalls

  • wildflowers

camp

Kings River Camping & Campgrounds

  • National Park Campgrounds
  • National Forest Campgrounds 
  • Dispersed Camping along Kings River
  • Pine Flat Lake Campgrounds
  • RV Parks near Kings River

Developed Campsite @ Kings River Recreation Area

Creeks & Lakes near Kings River:

Big Pine Creek / Sierra Road #9
Blackrock Reservoir
Black Rock Road #11S12
Courtright Lake
Gardiner Lakes (highcountry)
Pine Flat Reservoir (aka Sanger, CA and Trimmer Springs)
Wishon Lake

fish

see all Central Valley Reservoirs

Still Pond

Additional resources for Kings River:

Kings River Watershed

USDA Kings Wild and Scenic River

NPSplaque

Kings Canyon National Park:

Kings Canyon Visitor Center
(Grant Grove, on Highway 180)
559-565-4307

Cedar Grove Visitor Center
(summers only, end of Hwy 180)
559-565-3793

NFS Sequoia National Forest 
(south side of river)
Hume Lake Ranger District
559-338-2251

NFS Sierra National Forest
(north side of river)
High Sierra Ranger District
559-855-5355

ranger

towns along Kings River:

canoe

rivers.govKings River Online Topo Map

KINGS CANYON AREA MAPS:

 

Sequoia Kings Trail Map

Kings Canyon High Country Trail Map

Sequoia National Forest Map

Sierra National Forest Map

Pine Flat Reservoir

fish

Headwaters to the Kings:
features along the river, listed by fork

South Fork Kings River

South Fork is the most accessible part of the river inside the National Park. Well known and deepest part of the granite Kings Canyon, where Highway 180 dead ends

Although the South Fork waters begin as snow melt on top of the Inyo peaks of the High Sierra. About 20 miles NE of Cedar Grove (as the crow flies) and 33 miles by foot / trail

Mount Prater
Split Mountain
PCT @ John Muir Wilderness
Cardinal Lake
Bench Lake
Vennacher Needle
Mount Ruskin
Mannon Peak
State Peak
Arrow Peak
Dougherty Peak
Kid Creek
Arrow Creek
Kid Peak
Gardiner Creek
Glacier Creek
Glacier Monument
Bubbs Creek
Avalanche Creek
Mist Falls
Buck Peak
Bailey Bridge (footbridge)
Kanawyers
Zumwalt Meadows Trailhead
Granite Creek
Paved Loop Parking Lot
Highway 180
Roaring River Falls
Cedar Grove  (NPS campgrounds)
Cedar Grove Overlook
Avalanch Peak
Hotel Creek
Lewis Creek
Deer Cove Creek
Grizzly Creek
Boulder Creek
Windy Gulch Cascade
Boyden Cavern
Lockwood Creek

>> JCT w/ MID FORK <<<<

Middle Fork Kings River

Middle Fork begins at the alpine levels near
Helen Lake the Pacific Crest Trail
Langille Peak
Meadows near Dusy Basin Trail junction
The Citadel
Palisade Creek
Rambaud Creek
Cartridge Creek
Great Cliffs
Goddard Creek
Horseshoe Creek
Simpson Meadow
Ranger Station (backcountry)
Dougherty Creek
Slide Creek
Dog Creek
Alpine Creek
Blue Canyon (4600′ elev)
Crystal Creek
Painted Rock
Gorge of Despiar
Tehipite Switchbacks
Silver Creek
Monacrch Wilderness
Wren Creek
Tombstone Creek
Brush Canyon
Deer Canyon

>> JCT w/ South Fork <<<<

kings canyon 1992
Kings Canyon 1992

Highway 180 has a paved viewpoint overlook for this impressive, deep granite gorge with rivers intersecting. At this confluence of the Middle & South fork, we pick up with notable spots heading west.

Tenmile Creek
Rough Creek
Garlic Meadow Creek
Kings River NRT
Spring Creek
Converse Creek
Fox Canyon 1500′ elev
Verplank Creek
Garnet Dike
Mill Flat Creek
Trimmer Springs Road
Mill Flat Campground

>> JCT w/ North Fork <<<<

Bailey Bridge (steel road bridge)
Black Road Road #11S12 (Fresno Vomac Rd)
Pine Flat Reservoir
Big Creek / Sierra NF. Road #9

North Fork Kings River

Helms Creek connects Courtright Reservoir to Wishon. However, the official North Fork of Kings River begins below Wishon Reservoir and its gigantic granite gorge.
Rancheria Creek
Teakettle Creek
Mule Creek
Black Rock Reservoir
Patterson Creek
Basin Creek
Dinkey Creek

boatramp

Kaweah River California

Kaweah River California
Kaweah Lake Camping
Picnic & Wildflowers

picnic

Horse Creek Campground Sequoia
Kaweah Lake, California

Kaweah wildflowers

The Kaweah River is fed from snow melt in the southern Sequoia National Park & Golden Trout Wilderness . Since this location is the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains, where drought is more apparent, expect this river to be smaller than most of the other Sierra rivers.

Recent wildfire: SQF Fire 2020

kaweah river

Kaweah River has 4 forks, coming in from 3 different directions, east of the lake:

North Fork Kaweah runs down the western boundary of Sequoia National Park

Marble Fork Kaweah flows down from the National Park and  Sequoia groves on Generals Hwy 190

East Fork Kaweah comes out of Mineral King Valley

South Fork Kaweah feeds in from the south, just outside the river town of Three Rivers, California

pinetree

Forests & Parks along this River:

Mineral King
Lake Kaweah
Sequoia National Park

Above the town of Three Rivers, the mighty Mineral King Road peels off Highway 190 and winds its way up 25 miles – deep into the southern section of Sequoia National Park. This is a dead end canyon and it is so gorgeous – you’ll want to spend the whole weekend.  The road is long, narrow, curvy and takes hours to drive one way. The route closes for winter snow and stays gated for more than half the year.

Don’t plan on doing Mineral King (as a day trip) in addition to the main attractions of Sequoia groves in Sequoia National Park, unless of course, you have a whole week to burn. Mineral King is a remote, high elevation valley that is a favorite hikers paradise, with backpackers trailheads leading into Golden Trout Wilderness. Climb to upper altitude alpine lakes for a day of fishing. Play at the creek at the campground and listen to nightly ranger talks during the summer. Bears and marmots are very active in this area.

1923bridge
Photo Credit – Christian

Sierra Nevada / Central California

Seeking solitude while camping is difficult near the National Park. Dispersed camping is allowed on a few dirt back roads, but you will need a decent National Forest map to find these routes.

fish
The least busy, smallest campground around these parts is the South Fork Campground which does not accommodate motorhomes. Access is by a secluded South Fork Road, a dead end, rural residential, paved road – on the edge of town (Three Rivers, CA) With only 10 camp sites it is nmuch quieter than any other option. Perfect campground for tent campers, day hikers or backpackers.

Dry Creek Rd #J21 and North Fork Road (dirt roads, on the north side of the lake) are excellent routes for secluded picnics and wildflower meadows. Possibly gated part of the year, these roads connect to the seldom-seen, west side of the Sequoia National Park and some secluded Sequoia groves.

We are taking 20+ mies of dirt road driving, to reach any decent back road destination, so choose this path only if you have a.) a printed hard-copy topo map, b.) a worthy, high clearance vehicle and c.)  a full free day to kill just driving slow (25 mph) and exploring.

boondock camping
Photo Credit – Christian

hiker

  • backpacking

  • boating

  • camping

  • canoe

  • fishing

  • forests

  • hiking

  • kayaking

  • paddleboard

  • rafting

  • RV camping

  • swimming

  • tubing

  • wildflowers

canoe

kaweah river
Photo Credit – Christian

camp

Campgrounds near Kaweah River:

Atwell Mill Campground
Cold Springs Mineral King NPS
Buckeye Flat Campground NPS
South Fork Tent Campground NPS

Horse Creek Campground
@ Lake Kaweah

boatramp

Lodging near Kaweah River @
Three Rivers, California

river tube rentals

3 rivers town

Foothills Visitor Center
Sequoia National Park
47050 Generals Hwy
Three Rivers, CA 93271
559-565-3341

ranger

towns along Kaweah River:

Gateway Kaweah River
Gateway Restaurant, Three Rivers, CA

Sequoia Maps – Topo Trail Maps

Hiking Map

Smith River California

Wild & Scenic Smith River
Smith River NRA

Northern California, Del Norte County

South Fork Smith River4

Wild Smith River

Smith River National Recreation Area

One of the least known rivers in the Golden State, the Smith is designated as a Wild and Scenic River. This could be one of the wildest and cleanest rivers in the world.

Located in the Pacific Northwest, this area typically sees the most rainfall of any California region. Smith waters flow from the Klamath mountains of Oregon, to cross into California  with state line near O’Brien.

Smith is the only major, un-dammed river inside California and it contains the most original, ancient forest ecosystem than any other waterway in the state.

colorful blue-green

Smith River water often appears emerald green or on clear, sunny days, a turquoise blue color. This is because of the rare green serpentine rocks below that cast their brilliant color.

The Wild & Scenic Smith River

hiker

River Classification & Mileage:

Wild — 78.0 miles
Scenic — 31.0 miles
Recreational — 216.4 miles
Total — 325.4 miles

Beginning up in Oregon….

The Smith River, its three major forks and dozens of side creeks drain a beautiful, rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest, flowing southwest from the Klamath Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Nearing the coast, the river makes an abrupt turn north to meet the sea.

The NRA encompasses more than 450-square-miles of densely forested mountains, pristine botanical areas, remote wilderness landscapes, high-mountain lakes and steep, rocky canyons. The river is an important stream for fish, with towering trees along its banks provide shaded conditions necessary for cold-water species.

CALIF RIVER FISHING – chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Obtain a California fishing license. CA DFW

fish

WEATHER

A couple of campgrounds in this area are open year round, but the others close down for winter. Rainy season normally runs from October through April with an average annual rainfall over 90 inches. Summers are dry and warm, with high temperatures between 80-100°F. Contact the NRA Headquarters at the Gasquet Ranger Station for current weather forecast/conditions.

  • backpacking

  • camping

  • cliff jumping

  • fishing

  • hiking

  • kayaking

  • mountain biking

  • paddle boarding

  • redwood forests

  • river rafting

  • snorkeling

  • swimming holes

  • tubing

  • wildlife

  • wildflowers

In 1990, the portions of the Smith River on the Six Rivers National Forest were re-designated to create the Smith River National Recreation Area. More than 300 miles of the Smith River drainage are designated wild and scenic, making it one of the most complete river systems in the nation. The emerald-green Smith River flows freely and naturally, without a single dam for its entire length (and the only major river in California to hold this status).

canoe

RAPIDS & FLOATS

Winter rains provide the whitewater conditions so avidly sought by kayakers. The Smith River abounds with Class IV and V rapids on all three forks and has many miles of steep creeking waters. Its miles of whitewater require a fairly high degree of technical skills by the boater.

Just past the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork, the river leaves the NRA and flows past giant redwoods. Great summer floating in Class I and II waters through here.

Once the three forks join to form the mainstem, the land levels out, and the last 16 miles to the ocean present less demanding conditions, Class I-II in medium flows.

Smith River Sunset

camptruck

ROADWAYS

California Coastal Redwoods to Oregon

Smith River Scenic Byway
U.S. Highway 199

33 miles long
Northwest California

 

PDF Smith River Map & Guide

6.5  MB download
20 page river PDF guide w/ trailheads mileage and information, navigable runs detailed, campgrounds, picnic sites, fire lookout tower, plus cabin rental

pinetree

FOREST & PARKS
along the Smith River

camp

Camping Smith River, California
Campgrounds along the Smith River

Campground Camping at Smith River National Recreation Area
RV Camping, Dispersed Camping, Lookouts & Cabin Rentals

Smith River

bycounty

More Information

Forks of the Smith River? 45 stream branches and 3 major forks, this huge watershed drains a lot of forest terrain.

USDA Smith River page

Smith River NRA Visitor Center
10600 US Highway 199
Gasquet, CA 95543
707-457-3131

Siskiyou Land Conservancy
siskiyouland.org

Smith River Alliance
smithriveralliance.org

Smith River Swimming Holes
arboursabroad.com/smith-river-swimming-holes

 

towns near the Smith River:

SmithRiverMap
Outta Print Map (1994)

OTHER SMITH RIVERS

By the way, there are other well known fishing destinations called Smith River – Montana & Missouri. Maybe more. Go find ’em.

Picacho Park California

Picacho Campground
Picacho State Park @ Colorado River
Picacho SRA, California

tree camps

Winter camping is great at Picacho. Hunters, fisherman, snowbirds & RVers alike, all know this best kept secret. Picacho Peak on the Colorado River is prime spot for outdoor recreation & camping. Canoe, kayak, fish, hunt, mountain bike, hike, and mining history. All this desert fun, less than a 3 hour drive from San Diego.

The main attraction here is the Colorado River, fishing, hunting, plus easy freeway access & the off roading options are an added bonus.

colorado river
Colorado River, California

Ancient volcanic peaks surround this wetlands area of the Colorado River. Picacho makes a good stopping point on a river trip between Walter’s Camp and Martinez Lake.

A century ago Picacho was a mining town with 100 citizens. Now it is a State Park, offering diverse scenery, including cactus, burros, bighorn sheep and thousands of waterfowl. The impressive lower Colorado River is the recreation area on the eastern border of California.

canoe

Take the 20+ mile road north from Winterhaven, off Interstate 8 (W of Yuma, AZ). The side road to Picacho is paved only a few miles, then becomes graded dirt. The last 18 miles is over a desert road that is easily passable for passenger cars & motorhomes.

In the summer months thunderstorms can cause flash flooding in the washes, making sections of the road impassable. Check weather forecast before traveling into this flash-flood region of the California desert.

RV

Picacho SRA Park Info:
760-393-3052

 

Nearby cities:

hiking picacho

EASY HIKES @ CAMP:
Picacho California, rich in desert history, was once a small mining town. Historic signs, trails & buildings surround the Picacho Campground.

Hike straight from the main campground to many areas along the scenic rivers edge. Stroll through the old graveyard & read about the areas history. Walk the washes in early spring and look for wildflowers.

Picacho Park River Camping

Imperial Desert Hiking

PDF Map download EAST IMPERIAL

  • Indian Pass Wilderness
  • Picacho Peak Wilderness
  • Little Picacho Wilderness
  • Carrizo Falls
  • Quartz Peak
  • Hyduke Mine

BLM Maps for the Desert Regions

campground

desert RV campers

Desert River Campgrounds
Picacho Park

camp
Most camps are on first-come, first-served basis

campground elev spots toilet water fee notes comments
Taylor Lake Camp river 4 pit river yes river edge Boaters or vehicles ok
Outpost Camp river 3 pit river yes river edge Boaters or vehicles ok
4-S Beach Camp river 4 pit river yes river edge Boaters or vehicles ok
Paddle Wheeler river 2 pit river yes river edge Boat-in
(no vehicles)
Carrizo Camp river 2 pit river yes river edge Boat-in
(no vehicles)
Picacho Camp
main campground
100′ 54 pit piped yes large sites plenty tent + RV spots

The main dirt road up to Picacho Campground is fine – for RVers that don’t mind the long haul on a wash board road.

camptruck

Primitive River Camping

Senator Wash – south end of park, open dispersed camping between Squaw Lake & Senators Wash. No other back road dispersed camping inside State Park boundaries.

boatramp

BOAT IN CAMPING
Small campgrounds for boat in camping listed above on chart.

Colorado River Back Roads

The majority of this desert scenic area is dirt back roads, so get prepared & take precautions: water, warm clothes, matches, maps.  Best to get your SUV out & ready to explore on milder terrain, by driving out close to camp. Walking back to camp (note mileage) could be an option, if you get stuck.

Many roads could require 4-wheel drive, but there are still plenty suitable for 2WD. Tell a camping neighbor where you are headed and what time you should be back, just in case you get stranded or lost.

Heading all the way to Anza Borrego Desert, Salton Sea, or Mecca’s Box Canyon – just a day trip (?)  is unreasonable and should not be attempted. Rest and relax. Picacho Park has more than enough to keep you entertained and occupied.

OHV PARK – IMPERIAL SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA is due west of Picacho SRA, about 20 miles away (as the crow flies).

4x4

California has 2 nearby desert parks –

COLORADO RIVER PARKS:

Bordering the Colorado River on the opposite side is the state of Arizona, with wetlands known as Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

About 200 miles east of YUMA is another park called Picacho Peak State Park (AZ): 520-586-2283 and that place closes for summer months. NOTE: This park is often confused online with Picacho State Recreation Area, inside California. There is a Picacho Peak Wilderness on the California side, within the State Park boundary.  


California

Picacho State Recreation Area 

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=641

Trinity River California

Trinity River of Northern California

Highway 96
Trinity River flows north at Highway 96, to meet the Klamath River; N of Willow Creek, CA

south – west – north
& finally into the Klamath River

Northern California’s top river destination, the path of the Trinity River is not a typical westward flow. Headwaters begin in the Scott Mountains and the Trinity Alps, making its way into the Trinity Reservoir, then southbound to the Lewiston Reservoir, passing Douglas City and heads westward to parallel Hwy 299, beyond Weaverville. Trinity waters hugs the paved westbound highway – all the way from Junction City to Willow Creek – then turns abruptly north to merge with the Klamath River along Hwy 96.

Forests & Parks along Trinity River:

fish   boatramp  canoe

boating
camping
canoeing
fishing
hiking
hunting
kayaking
off-roading
rafting

camp hiker pinetree

2021 wildfire: Monument Fire burnt parts of the mountains and forests around Trinity River, in between Junction City and Willow Creek.

dispersed camping off Hwy 299
behind Douglas City

steinerflatfree
Steiner Flat is free camping, near Douglas City, CA and Hwy 299
Steiner Flat Camp
Tent camping at Steiner Flat – dispersed camping

Campgrounds along Hwy 3 Trinity River:

( both located @ Coffee Creek )

douglas beach
Douglas City Campground – nice beach

Campgrounds along Hwy 299 Trinity River:

trinity299
Trinity River wide and shallow area at Junction City, CA

ranger  

The largest town  near the Trinity River, is the county seat of Trinity, Weaverville, CA. The historic mining camp and logging town, located at the junction of Hwy 299 and Hwy 3. Oddly, the town itself does not have direct access to the Trinity River, but it is well worth a visit anyway.

greatparks
Great little picnic parks inside Weaverville

Towns near or along the Trinity River:

 lodge

Trinity Lake
Trinity Lake – red dirt shoreline in Northern California
trinityriverrush
Trinity River – North of Trinity Lake, along Highway 3

San Joaquin River California

Light Rain on San Joaquin

San Joaquin River, Sierra Nevada

Edison Lake, Florence Lake, Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake
Kaiser Wilderness, Sierra National Forest

2021 – MUCH OF THIS RIVER may be INACCESSIBLE,
due to the Creek Fire 2020

The San Joaquin watershed begins way up in the High Sierra, Ansel Adams Wilderness to be exact. Eastern Sierra ranges, up behind Mammoth Mountain peaks called The Minarets, the snow drains westward. Far from the San Joaquin Valley, way above Fresno, CA

Green Bridge San Joaquin
Green Metal Bridge @ San Joaquin River

Sierra National Forest Map USDA

  • backpack
  • camp
  • canoe
  • fish
  • hike
  • horseback
  • hot springs
  • kayak
  • mountain bike
  • off-road
  • picnic
  • snow-mobile
  • stargaze
  • waterfalls
  • wildflowers
Florence Lake
Florence Lake

Sierra Forest Road #80 is Kaiser Pass Rd. Starting next to China Peak Ski Resort (formerly Sierra Summit) Take the right turn, near Huntington Lake. Kaiser Pass Road is a paved back country road climbing steeply up into the high country.

Sierra Nevada / Central California

Forests along San Joaquin River:pinetree

Sierra National Forest
Dinkey Lakes Wilderness
Kaiser Wilderness
Ansel Adams Wilderness
John Muir Wilderness

Lakes & Hot Springs along San Joaquin River:boatramp

Florence Lake
Ward Lake
Edison Lake
Mammoth Pool Reservoir
Mono Hot Springs
Redinger Lake
Kerckhoff Lake
Milleron Lake SRA

Campgrounds along San Joaquin River:camp

(Florence Lake)
Jackass Meadow Campground
Ward Lake Campground

Mono Hot Springs Campground

(Edison Lake)
Mono Creek Campground
Vermillion Campground

(Kerckhoff Lake)
Smalley Cove Campground

Mammoth Pool Campground
Sweetwater Campground
Rock Creek Campground
Fish Creek Campground
Redinger Campground

Milleron Lake State Recreation Area

Towns near San Joaquin River:ranger

Bass Lake, CA
Fresno, CA
Clovis, CA
North Fork, CA
Shaver Lake, CA
Huntington Lake, CA
Friant, CA
Auberry, CA
Prather, CA
Alder Springs, CA

USFS

Sierra National Forest Headquarters
1600 Tollhouse Road
Clovis, CA 93611
559-297-0706

snowtree2
Serious, big snow country

snowWINTER ACCESS: Kaiser Pass is one of the few areas to enjoy snowmobiling trails and hot spring soaking. The distance to the springs is about 25 miles, one way and requires either cross country skis, snow shoes or snow mobile to reach.

windshldview
Snow Mobile Trails (January-April)
Rentals @ Rancheria
Rentals @ Rancheria

snowmoSNO MO RENTALS: Snow depth is usually best after the first of the year and last through April. The round trip hot springs (self-guided) excursion can be done w/ a half day rental, but only if you follow some guidelines: Reserve machine @ Rancheria Enterprises, way ahead of time;  Pack a lunch and snacks. Arrive early, gear up, get instructions and have a topo map; Be on the trail and traveling, not stopping on side routes, or play in the meadow or sightsee.

Narrow route continues on passing the meadow and goes for many miles. Trail traverses some steep terrain, with curves and cliffs, especially coming down hill to the river & green metal bridge. Parking spot is before bridge on left side. Hike a short distance, across marshy hillside to reach the 2 primitive hot tubs.

pano5
Panoramic Views
pools
Hot tubs @ Mono Hot Springs, 2001
SJoaqriver
River, right next to hot springs.

hiker

Sierra National Forest Map USDA
Sierra National Forest Map USDA
john muir maps
John Muir Trail Maps
kaiser
Kaiser Wilderness Map


Tule River California

minifallstule

Tule River

Southern Sierra Nevada Foothills
Great Western Divide

2021 – MUCH OF THIS RIVER may be INACCESSIBLE,
due to the Castle Fire 2020

dunk

One of the smallest rivers in the Sierra Nevada, the Tule River has three forks and is located within Tulare County. Tule drains the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Great Western Divide, part of the Sierra Nevada range. California Highway 190 connects the upper elevations of the Giant Sequoia to the farm town of Porterville. Tule River parallels this main Sierra highway as it flows west into the Central Valley.

Inside Mountain Home State Forest – Hidden Falls & Moses Gulch Campgrounds, both have small waterfalls & swimming holes. Dirt roads access these back woods camp spots, but they are both popular among the locals in summer months. Off season is best for minimal crowds. Mosquitoes can be fierce; bring the repellent or a screen room.

h20cooltule

Clear, cold, snowmelt water, flowing west – out of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Deep within the Western Sierra Nevada, lined with granite cliffs and neighboring the oldest Sequoia groves, the north fork of the Tule River descends down the forested canyons to meet the oak-land foothills at Springville, CA.

hidden falls
hidden falls

Tule River Camping

Campgrounds along Tule River:camp

 (South Fork)

  • Coy Flat Campground
  • Onion Meadow @ Western Divide
    Forest Road #21N93 – Giant Sequoia NM
  • Tule River Tribal Lands (private)
  • Tule Recreation Area @ Success Lake

(Middle Fork)

SEQUOIA_map
SEQUOIA NF MAP

(North Fork)

mtnhomesign

Forests, Lakes & Parks along Tule River:

tuleriverintown
Tule River in town: Springville, California

Towns & communities along this River:

Camp Nelson, CA
Pierpoint Springs, CA
Springville, CA
Tule River Tribe (South Fork)
Porterville, CA

springville gazebo
Springville, CA

Maps along the Tule River:

Golden Trout Maps
Sequoia National Forest Map
Sequoia Forest Atlas

TH_GoldenTroutSQ
Golden Trout Trail Map

hiker

Golden Trout Wilderness

backpacking, hiking, horse packing, fishing in the Great Western Divide

Mountaineering routes and hiking in Tule River Canyons

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McCloud River California

McCloud Creek & McCloud River

South of Mount Shasta
Shasta National Forest

The pleasure of visiting McCloud – hiking, biking and camping – is best done in the summer or early autumn. This region receives large amounts of snow, so visiting in winter often means a snow-mobile.

The McCloud River starts on the east side of the National Forest and flows west through these campgrounds listed below, then south to Lake McCloud. The river continues on past the lake and crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, then it descends another 25 miles southbound to the bigger Lake Shasta.

Middle Falls McCloud
Middle Falls @ McCloud River

McCloud Falls
Northern California 

3 developed campgrounds near waterfalls, along Highway 89

  • Fowlers Campground NFS @ lower falls
  • Cattle Campground NFS @ swimming hole
  • Algoma Campground NFS (the free camp)

downriver

Fowler Campground is the largest of these campgrounds, with bathrooms and fees. Only 6 miles (biking distance) to the small town of McCloud, CA

#40N44 UPPER FALLS RD – a paved road (which parallels the highway) connects all 3 tiers of water falls, the parking lots, trail systems, and two campgrounds – Fowler and Cattle.

camp

Cattle Campground is a spread out, flat, forest loop, walking distance to the river and numerous swimming holes. Located close to the highway @ Tate Creek Road.

Water from this river originates on Lone Pine Ridge, near Dead Horse Summit (4505′) along Hwy 89. PCT Bartle Gap trailhead.

Feeder streams to this river include: Angel Creek from the south; from mighty Mount Shasta on the north side, Ash Creek joins McCloud River near the Cattle Campground. Mud Creek merges into McCloud River, from the north, running down the east side of town. Lake McCloud is fed by the river and Squaw Valley Creek, coming in from the north. PCT Cabin Creek trailhead.

McCloud Creek starts east of McCloud, CA and becomes a raging, wide river within a few 20 miles.

hiker
The smallest of these camps is Algoma Campground – located on a paved road,  near a one lane bridge at McCloud Creek, the headwaters to the McCloud River. Algoma is the only free campground on this river, and due to that fact, it fills up quick w/ first come campers.

algomabridge

The paved access road is not well signed from the highway, so it helps to get a decent back roads map of the region and plan to arrive during daylight.

GRIZZLY PEAK RD. or aka Grizzly Peak Lookout Road is
Forest Road #39N06
 and it turns to dirt and continues past the campground, deeper into the forest and eventually ends up climbing to an elevation of over 6000′ and then down the mountain to Big Bend @ Pit River.

3N06daytime

McCloud Algoma
McCloud Creek @ Algoma Campground
  • camping

  • fishing

  • hiking

  • mountain biking

  • off roading


aspencampsite

Small aspen grove has autumn colors during October. A signed river trail leads many miles (down river) to seclusion.

algomacamp

self sufficient campers

Minimal facilities at this campground, so bring your shovel, bucket, water filter, plus any additional gear you may need. Town of McCloud is closest place (19 miles) for ice, groceries and gasoline.

fish

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rivertrailpath

Susan River California

Susanville Footbridge

Susan River California 

67 miles long, northern boundary of the Sierra Nevada

Lassen Peak to Susanville, CA

Lassen Volcanic National ParkNPSplaque

California’s Susan River begins way up @ Caribou Lake (6,571′ elevation) , on the east side of Lassen Peak at an altitude of 10,457′  inside the Caribou Wilderness.

Silver Lake (6400′ elev) at the Silver Bowl w/ Lassen National Forest Road #10 being the main, north-south access route, on the west side of A21.

Rocky Knoll Campground, Hourglass Lake, Hidden Lake, Tule Lake, Pine Lake. PCT is located 10 miles to the west of this area, running north-south through the center of the National Park.

  • Hay Meadows Trailhead
  • Caribou Lake Trailhead

kidfishing

Susan River follows Silver Lake Road down to Mooney Road A21. Backpacking, fishing and hiking are main attractions out here in the undeveloped lands, but snow can close these routes and trailheads for half the year. Expect crowds on summer weekends, as the Volcanic National Park pulls in a lot of visitors – and those tend to filter over to the outlying regions like the rivers and National Forest.
fish

Road A21

The Susan River Campground [CLOSED 2020] and Swains Campground, developed NFS campgrounds located on Mooney Rd (aka A21), due N of Westwood, CA

Lassen County Rd #A21 is a minimal signed road, near gas station on Hwy 36; Lassen County A21 is a paved road and very forested, with no services. A forested route which parallels Robber’s Creek, all this above Lake Almanor.

lassensignage

EAST BOUND

Susan River flows into the Great Basin – not the Pacific Ocean, like most rivers in California. After exiting the slopes of Lassen, the Susan River descends downhill along Highway 44, to McCoy Flat Reservoir (5556′) and then on to Hog Flat Reservoir  (5494′)  w/ access road #30N06.

camp

NFS Gomez Campground (5200′) is situated along the Susan River, on Road #30N03. Camp centrally located near both highways, with rail road tracks and access to a popular NRT (National Recreation Trail), the  Biz Johnson Trail (BLM).blm

Susan River flows east toward downtown Susanville, underneath highway system. Roxie Peconom Campground (4800′) is on a feeder stream, to the south, on Willard Creek. Forested walk-in camp site w/ large, level drum circle for large gatherings. Awesome location, far enough off the main drag.

Autumn colors can be decent along Willard Creek in September and October. This camping area is only 3 miles from the Highway 36 (via dirt road) and sorta close to town. Only 13 miles (biking distance) west of Susanville, CA

Chaney Creek Road is a dirt road near Highway 36, which parallels the river, the red rock bluff and the road, downhill into town.

Roxie Sign
Jamani Maidu Weda
  • backpacking

  • camping

  • creeks

  • hiking

  • fishing

  • kayaking

  • lakes

  • mountain biking

  • off roading

hiker

Forest Road #29N03 is Gold Run Road, the bumpy dirt road – that skirts around Diamond Mountain on the south side. Lots of one laner dirt roads, which will require a National Forest map or a decent topo map to navigate properly. OHV is common in these areas, so if you seek peace and quiet and solitude, know how to red a map and where the dirt bikes are expected to be.

Susan Sky
Summer Skies over Susanville w/ Diamond Mountain peak

USFS Ranger Station is located on the west side, just outside of town, on the wide downhill grade @ the Eagle Lake turnoff. Cal Fire station is also located along this stretch of highway.

Lassen National Forest
Ranger Station USFS

CA-36 @ Eagle Lake Rd, Susanville, CA 96130
Susanville, CA 96130
530-257-4188

Cal Fire Station
697 CA-36, Susanville, CA 96130
530-257-4171

 

ranger

The main road (highway 36 & 44) through here, and the Susan River parallel the whole way – dropping into town. Slow descent into downtown, as sharp curves come up abruptly (without a stop light) and pavement becomes a 25 mph downtown w/ pedestrians.

You can find the river by turning right (south) on Richmond,  through neighborhood. Susan River Parkway has some trails and picnic areas, with a ball field nearby. Hobo Camp is walking distance; biking and hiking trails abound.

Susanville Hiking Trails PDF
BLM Southside Trails

Susan River
Susan River in Susanville, CA
Susan River Parkway
Susan River Parkway

Small Park in Town
Small Park in Town

The Susan River was named after the daughter of early settler Isaac Roop, in 1857. The Museum Cabin homestead in downtown is that of Issac Roop, not Peter Lassen (as many mistakingly think).

The Susan River continues east to US Hwy 395, then southbound to enter the north Honey Lake. Lower lying deserts make up the Great Basin, which fills most of the state of Nevada.