Klamath River

Paddle Rafting and Inflatable Kayaking

Klamath River

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Wildlife and Wilderness
Northern California's Playful Beauty


Whitewater rafting and inflatable kayaking on Northern California’s Klamath River is an outstanding wilderness journey— a perfect summer vacation for singles, families, friends and groups. We provide oar boats for those who want to relax and take it all, paddleboats for group camaraderie and participation, self-bailing inflatable kayaks for those who desire adventurous solo encounters with the river

The Klamath is simply one of the most beautiful rivers in the western United States. It cuts through a stunning canyon and offers challenging technical rapids interspersed with long, warm, swimmable sections of tranquil water and mild riffles. The Klamath lies in one of the greatest concentrations of wilderness in the continental United States and there is an abundance of wildlife to view as we float downstream. Osprey, great blue herons, and bald eagles soar overhead and black bear and cavorting river otters are commonly seen along the river banks.

And in the evenings, you'll have the opportunity to dine on our renowned wilderness gourmet fare which has for 47 years satisfied the most discriminating palate. On our Special Theme Trips you’ll be able to listen to taste the wines of our celebrated winemakers.


"Thank you for a great, adventurous, wet, fun, adrenaline-lined, personal sauna, yummy trip."

—Paul Rerucha



Family Adventure Trip
#1 July 23-25
#2 July 29-31
Adults, $825; Youth, $700

Whitewater; For Novices and Seasoned Boaters; 3 days of rafting.   


Paddlerafts, Oar boats, and inflatable kayaks. optional hiking, low elevations, warm to hot climate, tent camping. Individuals are welcome from age 7 up. There is no upper limit on age.


Additional dates for group charters are available by special arrangement. Call for details. 

klamath_river_rafting_inflatable_kayaking_california_river_trips_whitewater_raftingIn this wilderness area one can still find virgin forests nestled in green canyons and on high mountain ridges; summer snowfields and granite faces of great mountains; a rich Indian history and wilderness sites where ancient worship is still carried on; a beautiful streambed which drops, cavorts, and glides through riffles, rapids, and pools for 200 miles within California. It is also known as the North American homeland of the mythical ape-man known as Bigfoot, whose footprints have been reported more often here than anywhere else.

The pace of our trips makes for a real vacation! Whenever possible, we poke around and explore the area. There is ample time during the day to swim, photograph, sketch, or hang out and enjoy the tranquility.

Day 0 Hometown to River Put In near Happy Camp, CA.
Please note that Day 0 is your Day in Transit from your Hometown to upstream of Happy Camp, California. This day is the day before the published date in our brochure.

Day 1 -
At 10:00 AM we will meet you at our put-in spot approximately 19.4-24.4 miles upstream of Happy Camp, CA. (Pre-departure information will pin point our put-in for your particular trip.) We will pack into our waterproof bags and then shuttle vehicles to Happy Camp; park our cars at a local motel, and then shuttle drivers back to the put-in to begin our trip.

We'll then have a brief lecture on equipment, safety, emergency procedures, and a demonstration of paddling techniques for those who will be taking the inflatable kayaks. Participants will choose their paddling partners and crafts.Then we'll drift downstream into the land of Sasquatch on a bouncy, playful river, practicing our ferrying across the river and catching eddies. We learn to paddle in unison and react appropriately to the guides commands.

Great blue herons take off in front of our boats as we float around the bends of the river. In late afternoon we pass through serpentine gorges and challenging rapids, paddling onward to our campsite in a quiet and wooded section of the river. In the quiet of the evening, lurking behind our campsite chatter is that bashful behemoth "Big Foot".

Klamath_river_family_rafting_salmon_omelette_california_river_raftingDay 2 - After a huge river breakfast, we pack up and set off on our second day of river travel. We look for bear, otter, and bald eagles. This is the perfect day for those who have not taken the opportunity to try out our inflatable kayaks as we have a lot of easy Class II rapids. In the late afternoon, we arrive at our camp. We usually have our famous marinated lamb barbecue this evening and camp out on in the meadows that surround our forested kitchen area.

Family Whitewater Rafting Tripon the Klamath River, California_Danielle and Camille

 "It was so great for our two daughters to finally share the river together after all these years. The rapids were just right, food superb, guides extremely competent and all the other families blended well with the river."

 —Marisa Willow


Day 3 - We'll have another sumptuous breakfast, pack up and run some thrilling Class III rapids all afternoon.  We"ll take out in late afternoon.

Day 4 - If we operate a 4-day trip, we extend our trip by putting in one day upstream of our normal put-in.

*Special Note. Four day trips cover more river miles than three day trips and also move at a more relaxing pace

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Please refer to this Trip Profile or our Schedule and Price list on this website. Please note that Adult fares apply for participants who are 18 and older. Youth fares apply for the ages of 7-17.

LAND COST INCLUDES: The following are included in your Klamath River trips:
*Orientation meeting at our put-in (TBA)
*Shuttle of drivers from Happy Camp back to the put-in before the trip
*Shuttling of appropriate number of cars to help facilitate the takeout
*3-4 days of rafting (depending on your particular trip)
*All on-river meals (lunch the first day through lunch the last day)

LAND COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: You are responsible for the following:
*Transortation to and from Happy Camp, CA.
*Meals and lodging in Yreka or Happy Camp prior to or after the trip
*Personal clothing and other gear
*Gratuities to guides
*For those individuals who will not be coming back to Happy Camp or East and are driving out to the coast, auto shuttles are available. Shuttle fees vary from approx. $35.00-$40.00 depending
on the number of cars and exact take-out spot.
*$6/person/day federal user-day fees.

REGISTRATION - To reserve space on any trip please use the enclosed application form with a deposit in the following amounts: $250 for all Klamath
3 & 4 day trips. Full payment required for 2-day trips. Balance due 60 days before departure. Upon receipt of deposit, you will receive a complete pre-departure packet which includes detailed travel logistics, an equipment list, bibliography, medical certificate and trip cancellation insurance. Although we do not write air tickets, we would be happy to give you the name of our travel agent who can facilitate in your air ticketing.

Average driving time to Yreka is 5.5-6.5 hours and to Happy Camp from the Bay Area is 7-8 hours; from Southern California, 11.25 tp Yreka and 13 hours to Happy Camp. United flies to Medford where car rentals are available. Redding also has an airport.

We will meet you at 10:00 AM on the morning of the first day of your trip approximately 19.4-24.4 miles upstream of Happy Camp (30-45 minutes upstream from Happy Camp which is 68 miles west of Yreka. (Complete Travel Logistics included in Pre-Departure packet sent upon registration).

James Henry River Journeys has been an outfitter on the Klamath since 1974 and has permission to operate on the Klamath through the U.S. Forest Service, KLamath National Forest in Happy Camp, CA. James Henry River Journeys is an equal opportunity service provider.

Our trip facilitators (see Special Trips) will be assisted by the veteran crew of James Henry River Journeys who each have 6-34 years of rafting experience. What will make your trip a safe and memorable one, is the attitude, competence, good humor, and gentle relatedness of the crew. They are dedicated entertainers, masterful chefs, and mature veterans of many expeditions. They have been trained in first aid, CPR, and emergency rescue procedures.

This raft trip is designed for a broad-range of adventure enthusiasts who want to experience the joys of whitewater river running on one of North America's most lovely rivers. Previous camping or river experience is not necessary.

klamath_river_rafting_california_river_trips_whitewater_raftingThe Lower Klamath has some challenging Class III rapids (intermediate difficulty). However, the warmth of the water and surrounding air, combined with its alternation of quiet stretches with intriguing rapids make it an ideal journey for novices and families alike. Being able to swim is not of consequence. Everyone is required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver at all times on the rafts or walking near rapids. Participants should be in good health and average-good physical condition.

The Klamath has one major impoundment above where we put in, thus flows are usually very consistent all summer long, varying between 1,000-5,000 c.f.s. (cubic feet/sec.) On most of our trips and when water levels are sufficient, we pack everything in the boats and remain self-sufficient. In these instances, we will have the entire flotilla present: oarboats, paddleboats, and inflatable kayaks. Individuals can trade off between the different craft depending on their inclinations. Paddling is a mildly strenuous to strenuous activity. Those who do not desire to paddle may ride in the oar boats.

On some trips (usually low water trips or special group charters for high schools) we maximize the participatory factor and use all paddleboats and inflatable kayaks, load only minimal gear in the boats, and operate the trip with vehicle assistance. In any case, the group will be limited to 24 participants. We welcome anyone who is 7 years or older, and wants to partake in the spirit of a river journey; sharing with others the joys of wilderness living and travel.

Please note that our day-to-day itinerary on the river is flexible, and will depend on special themes incorporated into the trip, river levels, weather and inclinations of participants. The length of the trip (miles covered) may change depending on the variables listed above. Final determination of the river itinerary is made by the head boatperson who is the trip leader.

Daytime temperatures usually range between 75 and 100 degrees during the summer. Night temperatures are in the high 50's 60's, and 70's. The river temperature is in the mid-60's.

Fresh food will be available and international camp cookery will fill the whetted appetites. Known for our remarkable cuisine, you'll savor every mouthful. See Meals.

Good health and average-good physical condition are prerequisites for this trip. See details see Medical and Health.

See What equipment JHRJ provides and Types of Boats.

We use specially designed inflatable whitewater rafts that are multi-compartmented and unsinkable. On each trip there are from two to five boats, with a low participant to guide ratio. We row all of the gear in 16-18 foot boats and are usually able to put on one paddle boat to give individuals the opportunity to actively participate in the river trip. Our Hyside self-bailing kayaks are the "state of the art" in terms of comfort and maneuverability.

Please note that we do not guarantee space in inflatable kayaks. We will bring a number of them, but if there are more people who wish to ride in these boats than there are space, we will rotate so that everyone gets chance to participate. Paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks are available only when conditions permit and when there are enough people interested in this option. Please indicate your preference on your KLAMATH TRIP LOGISTICS SHEET.

We have a limited number of sleeping bags and inflatable pads available on a rental basis.
Cost of $25 per unit. Tents may be rented for $25/trip.

A complete equipment checklist will be sent to all trip members upon registration. We usually have great weather in the heart of the summer mid-June through early September, and cooler and more variable weather on May and early June trips and mid-September departures. It is the responsibility of everyone coming on a Klamath trip to be adequately prepared for inclement weather at any time of the season. Wool clothing/and or fleece garments, and completely waterproof raingear are necessary in the event of a spring/summer/fall storm.

There are good opportunities to photograph the environs while on land (especially at Ukonom Creek). There will also be opportunities to photograph rafts going through two of the major rapids. A waterproof point and shoot is ideal for this trip.

If you have to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. See Cancellations JHRJ.

See Trip Insurance.

© 2006. James Henry River Journeys. All Rights Reserved. Revised May, 2020..

To read more about our Special-Interest Trips on this river, go to
Klamath Special Trips.

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