Sunday, April 9, 2017

Whitewater Kayaking on the Eel River

The Eel River is an often overlooked whitewater gem.  The Eel has many personalities and something for all classes of whitewater enthusiasts.  The moving water on the Eel ranges from class I through class V (flat, moving water through steep, difficult whitewater).  The Eel is a special river for me because it is in my backyard and where I learned to whitewater kayak.
Cate Hawthorne whitewater kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River.  Photo by Mark Boyd
The Eel River has roadside stretches for day trips and easy shuttle logistics and wilderness stretches for multi-day kayak camping trips.
Whitewater kayak camping trip on the Eel River.
The boating season depends on the rainfall in the area and snow pack and run off from Mendocino National Forest.  It is difficult to say what is typical, but usually we are kayaking on it December through May.
Whitewater Kayaking on Eel River
Jackie enjoys a surf waves on the Eel River. Photo by Liquid Fusion Kayaking
Jeff and I love the Eel River and are really excited about kayaking on it this spring.  The ground is saturated and gushing, and we expect to have good flows on the Eel this spring.

Spring is our favorite time of the year on the Eel.  Longer days, warm weather, and wildflowers are a real treat.  We have 2 whitewater kayak classes on the Eel coming up.  April 15-16 is our Precision River Running Class for Intermediate Whitewater Kayakers to build their river running skills.  May 13-14 is a Whitewater Kayak Class for novice whitewater kayakers.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking instructing whitewater kayaking on the Eel River. Photo by Mark Boyd.
Private whitewater kayak lesson Eel River
Liquid Fusion Kayaking guides private trips on the Eel River.
Want to know more about the Eel River, CaCreeks is a website with information on many of the Eel's Runs.  Also Dan Menten has a new book The New School Guide to Northern California Whitewater that has lots of information on the Eel and other Northern California Rivers.

I am planning to write a series of stories and information on my favorite stretches of the Eel.  Stay tuned.


  1. Couldn't agree more. But, it's hard to get people to leave free time open and flexible to accomodate flow patterns. People fill in their calendars ahead of time, and that doesn't work if you want to paddle the Eel.

    1. Yes, running the Eel and other whitewater runs as with finding good surf and optimal sea kayaking conditions is about flexibility to go with the flow. We build try to build flex time into our schedule for boating so that we can go when its good. Hope to see you on the water sometime Paul!