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Del Norte County’s Wonderful Waterway of Thrills

Del Norte County, California, is home to one of the best and most interesting river rafting and kayaking experiences in the world. The Smith River is the only river system in California that is not dammed, which provides for a wonderful adventure on rapids rated up to Class IV on the iconic North Fork of the waterway.

You’ll enjoy a surreal landscape, going from the nearby lush rainforests of the redwoods, into a barren landscape of desert-like red and tan rocks – all while floating on crystal clear water. The high water clarity and desert-like vegetation of the North Fork come from the unique geology, which offers rafters amazing canyon scenery, rare carnivorous plants and dozens of waterfalls, including one you can paddle under to reach ‘the grotto’. The river has rightfully earned the nickname of “Avenue of the Waterfalls.”

To learn more about this amazing North Coast experience, please watch this video that was produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting:


The takeout for the river is in Gasquet, California, which is only about 30 minutes from Crescent City. We recommend an overnight stay in a cozy cabin in order to make the most of the experience, and be sure to check on seasonality, as river levels and rapids can vary throughout the year. CLICK HERE for a great list of other must-see and do experiences to take in during your visit to Del Norte County.

Outfitters to Book With

Redwood Rides

Smith River Kayaks

Enjoy this gallery of images from Redwood Rides, of this beautiful piece of Del Norte County: