Category Archives: terrain

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.

Moab, Utah

Moab UTAH
Red Rock Country is Outdoor Heaven

moabUT

If there is one way to get the Total Escape crew outta California, it will be with the enticing red rock landscapes of Utah. The amazing spanse of colorful desert is enough to inspire any nature lover down to their soul.

Moab, Utah was a sleepy little, rural town until about the 1980’s when the Jeeps took over. Numerous, annual off road events, plus the rise of mountain biking, new hotel development in town, and sheer “word of mouth” made Moab what it is today – a bustling, busy, tourist village with restaurants, brewery, and lodging.

Off Road Mecca of Moab UT

 Desert

terrain: high desert canyons and mountain peaks

elevation: 4000′
population: 5,253

terrain: High elevation red rock desert paradise. A deep river valley surrounded by snow capped peaks & red rock grandure.

location:
South Eastern Utah
Grand County
south of Interstate 70 on Hwy. 191

description: This locale has boomed in the last few decades with a determined focus on outdoor activities. The town is a recreation mecca set in the vast beautiful desert of southwestern Utah.

Amazingly scenic spot set in red rock landscapes along rivers – with abundant outdoor recreation around every corner. Snow capped mountains are a scenic backdrop for more than half the year.

4x4

4WD – 4×4

area activities:

  • off-roading
  • rock crawling
  • mountain biking
  • dirt biking
  • rock climbing
  • river rafting
  • shops in village
  • restaurants
  • river kayaking
  • hiking
  • camping
  • picnics

camp

local links:

Moab Area Chamber of Commerce
805 North Main Street
Moab, Utah
435-259-7814

DiscoverMoab.com

Moab-Utah.com

maverick
Maverick, Moab Utah

Parks, Rivers and Forests
surrounding Moab Valley, Utah

There is plenty land for solitude, just make sure to keep the peace. Don’t be honking at any cattle in the roadway. Stressed out city folks will soon be put in their place out in these parts. It is best to plan a full week vacation to thoroughly enjoy this awesome red rock location.

Moab Area Maps

Moab Cyn Hike 2003

Best Hikes in Moab:

dirtbikes

Moab Mountain Biking Trails

check

Try this adventure: Drive from Saint George to Moab — on almost all dirt roads! No traffic lights for 5 full days. Weaving in & out of all the National Park & National Forest lands is an experience of a lifetime. Plenty of great dispersed camping – everywhere.

camera see our 150 Utah photos on Flickr

umbrellaMay through October is the best months to try this road trip, but be aware that there is a monsoon season here: Thunderstorms and flash floods are possible late summer into autumn.

Alabama Hills, California

Eastern Sierra BLM – Alabama Hills


A nice surprise for visitors to Mount Whitney region when they happen upon the Alabama Hills. The cool boulder field lies at the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range – next to the town of Lone Pine, on the way up to Whitney Portal.

The infamous area features a drive named “Movie Road” – with historical spots for filming old westerns & cowboy movies. Plenty of television commercials & videos have been filmed here as well. Relatively close to Los Angeles and SoCal.

high desert: elevation 5354′

 

From the Mojave desert, take Hwy.395 North to the small town of Lone Pine . At the only traffic light in town; turn left up Mt Whitney Portal Road; continue up to boulders. MOVIE ROAD, right turn to start exploring. Mant graded dirt roads and areas to park vehicles.

  • hike

  • bike

  • camp

  • horseback

  • natural arches

  • rock climbing

  • stargaze

  • wildflowers


MT WHITNEY MAPS

Inyo National Forest next door offers the highest granite peaks, pinon pines to Ponderosa pines, Sierra lakes, fishing, hiking, horseback trails.

campfireNO CAMPFIRES (and no open dispersed camping on this BLM land)

Developed Campgrounds nearby:

bamahillcrew

blm

ALABAMA HILLS – BLM 

download BLM PDF map

US 395

 

Alabama Hills Recreational Area
760-876-4444

 

 

Mt. Whitney Information Center
760-876-6200

 

Eastern Sierra links & info

Alabama Hills Stewardship Group
BLM Alabama Hills Info
Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitors Center
Friends of the Inyo
Mt. Whitney Ranger Station USFS