Trinity River from Lewiston to Junction City
This is one of the most scenic beginner runs in California, and would be more popular if it were closer to population centers. Stretches of semi wilderness alternate with houses near the river. Some sections have no road on either side. Even when roads are near, the river corridor retains a nice wilderness feel. Trout fishing is good; salmon and steelhead runs occur at certain times of the year. Although gold was first discovered along the Trinity just above Reading Creek in Douglas City (then called Kanaka Bar), this section is not as devastated by hydraulic mining as the section from Junction City to the North Fork.
Here is an occasionally updated Flow Release Schedule for Lewiston Dam. At low flows, some rapids become very rocky and technical. At high flows, watch out for downed trees and brush along the banks. In odd years, a late summer release occurs for the Hoopa boat dance.
Steel Bridge BLM campground is quiet with several walk-in campsites. Downstream, Douglas City BLM campground is superb, with flush toilets and spacious campsites among tall trees. Primitive camping is available further down Steiner Flat road. The lumbering and resort town of Weaverville is along the shuttle route, and offers good restaurants and motels for those not inclined to camp.
All 25.8 miles are worthwhile, but best divided in two. The lower run has more whitewater. The upper run has some and is possibly more scenic. You can split the runs by camping at one of the campsites mentioned above, or by putting in at Indian Creek access if staying in Weaverville. The upper run to Indian Creek is 14.7 miles, the lower is 11.1 miles. At low flows you might want to reduce the upper run to 10 miles by putting in at Bucktail river access.
Above Trinity reservoir, there is a scenic high-elevation class III-IV run with natural flow, described here. Indian Creek, a tributary below Douglas City, offers a fine class IV+ run with many sweet bedrock drops. It sometimes reaches 150 cfs in spring, the minimum level recommended for kayaking. Below this run, after an easy section along the road, below the North Fork confluence, lies the excellent class III Trinity Pigeon Point run.
Distances are given in miles below Lewiston, and (in parentheses) miles above the Klamath confluence.
To reach Indian Creek river access, drive west from Redding 38 miles on highway 299, or east from Willow Creek 64 miles. Public vehicle access is just west of Indian Creek Lodge.
Steel Bridge BLM campground is west, at the end of Steel Bridge Rd. Douglas City BLM campground is over a hill on Steiner Flat Rd. East of the wide bridge, take the Douglas City turnoff. Just past the general store and a motel, turn right onto an unmarked paved road. Soon, take the left fork, not the right fork to the local school. At the top of the first hill, turn left and descend steeply to the BLM campground. The best river access is at the downstream end of the campground.
To reach put-in for the upper run, drive east 3.8 miles on highway 299. After the top of a hill, turn left onto Lewiston Rd. Continue 5.3 miles and turn left onto Lewiston School House Rd. After a sharp right at bottom of a hill (Goose Ranch), turn left on Lewiston Turnpike Rd. Cross the one-lane bridge just northwest of downtown, and take a sharp left into the gravel parking area.
To reach take-out for the lower run at Evans Bar river access, drive west on highway 299 uphill to the town of Weaverville, where traffic slows considerably. Continue uphill and over a pass, then down to Junction City. After 16 miles on 299, turn left and cross the bridge on Dutch Creek Rd. Turn upstream. After 4 miles, bear left on Evans Bar Rd. After a mile the pavement ends, just before the river access area.
It might be possible to pre-arrange a shuttle by contacting the Douglas City general store, or the Lewiston store. They might help you with the shuttle, or give you the phone number of a driver.
Map of Rivers