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I'm looking at heading down to California this summer to visit some friends in the san jose area sometime in may or june. Of course I can't drive that far without getting a bit of boating in. Snowpack looks low, what rivers/creeks should be good? Creeks class 4 - 5- preferably, may do some playboating too. Just about anything between Oregon and LA will be considered.
 

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Google; dreamflows real time flow page
Then chase down the stuff that's high lighted in green when you get there.
I'm sure even with the low snow pack there will be stuff to boat in May and June. rain/ snow wise March has been good to the North part of the state...the further north the better. Also the Klamath Mtn and north Sierra areas with lower peak elevations the melt starts sooner then the high Sierra...May is usually very good.
 

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Buzzards have some good input, but the sites you want to be looking at are...

dreamflows
oregonkayaking.net (lots of cali stuff too)
awetstate
boof.com

Snowpack is lower in the south and better in the north. June is getting late, but may should still have some decent water I would think.
 

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I spent a few weeks in northern Cali last year. I stayed at a friends place in Eureka, and there are many rivers in that area to paddle. We did a 4 day float on the eel river class III-IV. Wonderful trip but a very sketchy area. If you don't know anyone there, don't go. You might find your car broken into, or missing. The second river we hit up was the Trinity River. I believe it has all classes of rapids. This is not a sketchy area. Many other boaters, and I found free camping in a national forest that was north of the river, i think. I highly recomend this area if you are heading to Northern Cali as well. Enjoy.
 

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South Fork American
Middle Fork American
Tuolumne
Merced
These should have a run and are fairly close to SJ, although it's looking like it's going to be a short season due to the drought.



I'm looking at heading down to California this summer to visit some friends in the san jose area sometime in may or june. Of course I can't drive that far without getting a bit of boating in. Snowpack looks low, what rivers/creeks should be good? Creeks class 4 - 5- preferably, may do some playboating too. Just about anything between Oregon and LA will be considered.
 

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Not to be a dick, but the guide book only recommends the middle american in case of emergency.
Also, you know your a rafter if you recommend the middle American.
Lived in NorCal for 8 years made it on the middle fork of the American zero times.
 

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In defense of the Middle Fork American, in a drought year like this, it is a dam release river with consistent flows for much of the summer (and it has one of the few waterfalls that I know of that goes in a raft but not in a kayak).

Pizzle is right, though. It is about 3 miles of whitewater and 11 miles of flatwater, and should only to be run in case of emergency. Although the snowpack this year might qualify.
 

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The Middle Fork of the American is a classic run, and it's ran commercialy through out the Spring and Summer. You may have lived in NorCal for 8 yrs but you missed out on a great kayaking run. There's also a fun run on the North Fork of the American. Btw there's a lot more boating around here, I was just giving him a few of the classic day runs and places where I think there might be water in May/June. And you need a new guide book, here's a good site:
Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River in California


Not to be a dick, but the guide book only recommends the middle american in case of emergency.
Also, you know your a rafter if you recommend the middle American.
Lived in NorCal for 8 years made it on the middle fork of the American zero times.
 
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