|Kayakers on the Russian River|
The million acre watershed of the Russian River is one of the largest in northern California. The 110 long mile river blends together a landscape of contrasts. You'll find steep mountains with coniferous forest, chaparral, and oak woodland on each side of wide flat river valleys.
|Mouth of Russian River on Pacific Ocean at Jenner, CA|
If you own your own kayak or canoe there are many excellent sites along the river to launch them. There are a host of canoe and kayak rental companies in many Russian River locales which offer a variety of trip options. Both single day and multi-day kayaking trips are offered. Simple kayak rentals are also available. On the lower river between Hwy 101 and the Pacific coast is the town of Guerneville which offers rentals for canoeing and kayaking adventures. In this section, many people start their river journey from Steelhead Beach, east of Guerneville, and travel downriver back to Guerneville. Depending on how many stops you make along the way, this route will give you a pleasant half day or more trip. There are several places to stop along the way and rest or enjoy a short picnic.
The Russian River has a lot of interesting history attached to it. The Russian River runs through the beautiful Redwood country and therefore was quite attractive to the logging industry in the late 1800's. Before pioneer settlement, the Russian River canyon and its tributaries held some of the largest redwood trees found anywhere. Because of this, the early logging industry in this area flourished.
|Bridge over Russian River, Guerneville, CA|
A large amount of passenger traffic, in addition to logging traffic, was also carried by the North Pacific Coast Railroad. The line ended in the north at Duncan Mills with a short spur line further north to Cazadaro. Duncan Mills boasted a large sawmill where flatbed rail cars were loaded up. The railroad operated up until 1935. At the start of the tourist boom, people crossed from San Francisco on the ferry boat, received their railroad tickets in Sausalito and rode north to the end of the line. The Russian River area in the redwoods attracted a lot of people who wanted to enjoy the river beaches, kayaking, canoeing and the fresh mild climate.
I hope you enjoy the Russian River as I have for years. It's a canoeing & kayaking paradise. It also makes a terrific combination road trip along with your Sonoma County winery tours and offers a lot of low cost outdoor recreation options for the entire family in one of the most scenic areas of northern California.