Wild and Scenic Klamath River


Rated in the top 20 bright new ’09 California vacations by San Francisco Magazine

The Klamath is California’s longest river and second largest. The average flow at its mouth is higher than the Colorado in the Grand Canyon.

Klamath river osprey
Osprey nest along the Klamath river corridor

The Klamath watershed starts east of Crater Lake in southern Oregon. It flows southwesterly into California and then west to the ocean. It slices through the very rugged Siskiyou mountains and Coastal Range. The large wilderness area between Happy Camp and the coastal town of Crescent City is a remote paradise, supporting a rich and lush vegetation and a wide variety of wildlife.

The Klamath and its tributaries and the diverse vegetation provide excellent habitat for ospreys, bald eagles, great blue herons, Canada geese….This region of California lies on the migratory route of many tropical birds. These birds make the journey to the forests around Hwy 96 to nest after spending the winter in the rain forests of Central America and the Caribbean.

The Klamath region remains largely unpopulated. Before white settlement, the Klamath was home to several groups of Indians, including a tribe of Modocs known as the Klamath, after whom the river was named. Other tribes living along the river and its tributaries included the Shasta, Karuk (whose name means upstream) and the Yurok (downstream). The subsistence of these Indians depended mostly on the river’s abundant salmon and steelhead and it was profoundly disturbed, first by mining operations in the fever of the gold rush, then later by dam building and other dredging operations that cut the fish off some of their best spawning grounds. Fisheries have been protected since then, and, in 1980, the California section of the Klamath was added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, thus being saved from dam building.

Klamat river sunset
Painted skies over the Klamath river

Every summer, the Yurok and their neighbors share the World Renewal Ceremony that brings good fortune from the spirits to prevent disasters and provide abundant food.

Bigfoot legends abound around the world. Native Americans called him Sasquatch. To this day, the area along Hwy 96, between Happy Camp and Willow Creekreports more sightings of Bigfoot than anywhere else in the world. Cryptozoologists, people who investigate unknown animal species, have compiled huge amounts of evidence proving Bigfoot’s evidence.

Tree of Heaven campground is the meeting place for our very popular class 2/3 run. It is easily accessible from I-5, 10 minutes only from the Oregon border and close to the small town of Yreka. Mellow rapids, warm waters great for swimming and an easy pace make for a relaxing day, ideal for families with small children or first time rafters.

Klamath River Rafting – Tree of Heaven

Klamath river otter
Klamath river otter

Happy Camp, halfway between I-5 and the Pacific Coast, is the meeting place for our class 2/3 Klamath run and most of our overnight adventures. It was so named in 1851 by a group of gold miners after they found what they were looking for. Playful rapids, superb scenery and wildlife combined with secluded camping make the Klamath one of the State’s best summer destinations.  We offer 2 to 5 day wilderness camping trips. A raft carries all our equipment, kitchen, food, sleeping gear and personal baggage. We travel down river unemcumbered by the strappings of modern urban life. No cars, no phones, no computers… just the quiet and peace of the river environment. Our guides take care of all your needs. They are expert at river navigation, excellent cooks, storytellers, yoga instructors and musicians…Mostly they are wonderful human beings who love what they do and take your welfare to heart. Ukonom Creek, named after a Karok chief, enters the Klamath river, clear and cool. A rugged 3/4

Ukonom Klamath river
The twin falls of Ukonom creek

mile trail leads from the river to the Ukonom Twin Falls and a nice deep pool great for swimming and cooling off. This is a place of awesome beauty, the highlight of any trip.

Lower Klamath River Rafting Trips

Camping information

We offer the use of inflatable kayaks on all our Klamath trips. Our self-bailing kayaks are one-person rafts, very stable, easy to paddle and immense fun. They allow for a very intimate river experience, the extra thrill to challenge your senses and spririt of adventure. Teenagers love them…

We take care of you. We teach you the basic skills and safety procedures, we lead you down the river and provide support and assistance to ensure the best experience possible.

Klamath river ducks
Resident Merganzers
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