» Smith River
Bird’s Eye View
The Smith River, California’s last undammed river system, is remote and wild in every aspect. The only thing predictable about a Smith River kayaking trip is that it is unpredictable. From weather to flows, the Smith River is almost guaranteed to change last minute. For this reason, not many commercial outfitters run trips on the Smith. It is dependent on rainfall and rises quickly. If it is raining, there will most likely be runnable flows for the next few days.
The Smith in a Nutshell
Difficulty: Class III, IV, & V
Gradient: 44 ft/mi (North), 20 ft/mi (Middle), 50 ft/mi (Oregon Hole), 40 ft/mi (South)
Length: 13 miles (NF), 14 (MF), 2 (Oregon Hole), 11.5 (SF)
Season: December – April (or whenever it rains!)
Sections: North Fork, Middle Fork, Oregon Hole Gorge, & South Fork
Who should go: Anyone who is willing to drive the distance to get to one of California’s most spectacular rivers.
Whitewater & Scenery
Transparent turquoise water, coastal redwoods, and a maritime ecosystem make the Smith River unique from other California Rivers. The scenery is stunning and there is a great range of whitewater difficulty levels, from Class III to Class V. Part of the reason the scenery is so green, is that the Smith is located in California’s only rainforest.
Read more about Smith River Whitewater.
Learn more about Smith River Flows.
Keep reading about Smith River Logistics.