Canoe the Russian River via Forestville

San Francisco Burke's Canoe, Forestville, CA

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This is a fun, easy canoe trip you can do at your own pace. Expect to spend about 4 hours paddling.

Starting at Burke's Canoe in Forestville, CA this is a 10-mile self-guided canoe trip down the Russian River.  You can rent your canoe from Burke's and launch from their beach.  Burke's will also pick you up 10 miles down-river and shuttle you back to their parking lot.

This canoe trip features lots of little beaches where you can park your canoe and take a break from paddling to have a picnic, swim in the shallow river, or just hang out and work on your tan.  The water is not frigid either, so jumping out to go for a quick swim won't freeze you to the bone.  We stopped at a small secluded beach for a lunchtime picnic and spent another 30 minutes just having a rock skipping competition.

We visited in the summer after a particularly wet winter, so we had enough of a current and enough depth to make this an easy trip...not much paddling was required to get us moving.  We only needed to paddle for steering away from the trees on the banks.  Be warned that if you visit after a dry winter the river can be very low in spots and you will need to get out and walk it through the shallows as paddling won't really get you anywhere.

Although Burke's is a popular canoe rental company, the crowds thin out the further you go down the river.  For most of our 5 hour journey we were all alone with the water and the sun and the beaches all to ourselves.

If you're interested in camping, Burke's offers a small campsite on their property.  The campsite has running water, showers, and bathrooms.

Pack List

  • Water and Food
  • Water shoes (walking your canoe through shallow parts was really hard to do in flip flops)
  • Waterproof bag for phone/camera
  • Beach towels
  • Picnic blanket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
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How to Get There

about 1 year ago

Great Day Trip!

This spot on the Russian River is about an hour and a half north of San Francisco (traffic dependent). The canoe trip down the river is pretty easy with calm water almost the entire way. There are plenty of great spots to pull off for lunch and a few rope swings along the route if you're up for it. If you have shoes you don't care about or water shoes, I'd recommend bringing them if you plan on wading through the river bed. If you're headed back to SF afterward, it's a quick side trip to stop by Russian River Brewing.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Love Burke's Canoe

I loved this trip! The folks at Burke's are amazing and friendly. After your trip they'll give you coupons to save on future trips. The canoe was $60 to rent for the day and the fee covers the canoe, life vests, and paddles. The Russian River was really beautiful and serene...would definitely do this trip again.

about 1 year ago

Activities:

Canoeing, Swimming

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Rating:

Features:

Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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