San Francisco Boating? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-16-2016   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 17
San Francisco Boating?

Hey all,

Have a potential job offer in San Francisco that I'm considering taking. I'm in Denver right now and definitely really just starting to enjoying the whitewater scene (albeit a bit short with exception of Bailey and Gore).

Does anyone know what kind of quality runs are within driving distance of San Fran for a weekend warrior? Would be in a 9-5. Looking to creek mostly IV-V.

Any info/people to reach out to would be great! Job is pretty much a no brainer, but i'd be lying to myself if I said that the ability to kayak doesn't factor in.

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Old 08-16-2016   #2
Shingle Springs, California
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 113
It will take you 2-3+ hours to get to camp most of the time (Traffic Sucks), but the boating is limitless if you are willing to drive.

Trinity, Eel, Smith, Feather, All the Americans, Yuba's, The T, Kerns, That is just some of the popular rivers.

Grab the Lar's Holbeck guide book and you can see it all (Outdated but really good book).

SF has a pretty big boating community that drives to the mountains each weekend. If you actually work in SF the Friday traffic is brutal so you need to plan your exit well or just say screw it and drive up in the am.
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Old 08-16-2016   #3
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 570

I move to the bay area for work from Colorado about two years ago so I can relate to your question well.

California has fantastic kayaking, especially in less dry years!

You can absolutely kayak year around on dam release runs. Spanky is correct you haft to drive through. As is such kayaking becomes a full weekend activity and in some ways, I enjoy it more because of that. It is great to fully escape the city to paddle on the weekends.

Our summer season is fantastic as Cherry Creek on the Tuolumne runs during this time. It is like gore with better boofs and less mank! It is a 3h drive from SF early morning no traffic and about a 4-5 hour drive home on a summer evening with traffic. Nonetheless, there is a solid bay area group that frequents this stretch in the summer.

Another dependable year around classic IV/ V run is Burnt Ranch Gorge. The drive is a bit longer 6-8 hours each way depending on traffic. However, it is perfect for a 3 day weekend.

Read about these run here:
A Wet State - A Guide to Whitewater Kayaking

From SF you can also kayak surf in the ocean (Dillion Beach) with a 30m - 1h drive.

This water year it rained in California and I did about 20 new sections of river in 8 months most withing weekend driving distance of the bay area.

It is not Hood River or Ashville but the jobs are great and the paddling is year around.

PM me if your are in the area and want to kayak.


~ B
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