Smith River, the last major free flowing river in california, bisects jedediah smith redwoods state park and forms one of the boundaries of the stout grove, the oldest grove in all the parks.
The Smith River in northern California

Forward ~ The Quartzville Creek Back - country Byway in Oregon

Back ~ Camping and other facilities at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

The beautiful Smith River is the last major free flowing river in California. While glimpses of deep teal green in the water can be had in the Chetco River north of Brookings, Oregon, the Chetco is nothing compared to the Smith. And I'm an Oregonian with deep appreciation of the beauty of my home, and that is my testimony for the Smith River. I love the Smith as I love the Umpqua River in Oregon. They seem beyond compare to me.

King among Kings, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: the Smith River Stout Grove, the oldest grove in any of the parks.

Sightseeing en route to and on the Oregon, California Coast and Redwoods.

USFS: Hiking in Six Rivers National Forest.

Want to hike? Hiking in the northern Redwood Parks.

National Parks Service: California Redwoods State and National Parks.

the smith river from the redwoods highway in northern california.

Rafting on the Smith River

This information is meant only to give an idea of possible recreation opportunities on the Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. If you decide to attempt to raft the Smith based on the information given here, you must check with authorities before beginning any excursion.

I have a personal example: One summer Brad and I decided to float down the south fork of the Smith on inner tubes (not pictured). We didn't know what we were getting into until we were in the gorge and by then it was too late. It was later in the year so the water flow was considerably reduced, The gorge in the south fork is characterized by near class 5 rapids, and we had none of that, but the rocks made it quite hazardous for two people with no helmets. Beautiful. In some aspects quite terrifying. Obviously we survived. :-)

  • The South Fork of the Smith River is accessed off Hwy 199, simply cross the bridge and turn left. You'll be driving alongside the river, but unable to see what is going on down there but for one viewpoint. That view gives a spectacular view of placid emerald waters -- paradisiacal; that's downstream from the gorge. The gorge can not be viewed from the road.

    Most people put in below Stevens Bridge and pull out before the gorge. You get some great scenery on this run with Class III to Class IV rapids.

  • The Middle Fork of the Smith River is the river seen from the Highway 199. The Class V Siskiyou Gorge is on this river, but cannot be seen from the road. There are two low water runs on the river and Class III rapids below Siskiyou Gorge. Put in below Cal Trans Station and be sure to get out above Siskiyou Gorge. As I said previously, get more information from an authority before firming your plans on this river.

  • The north fork is called a classic run: a 14 mile float with many Class IV rapids. The main rapids are Ledge,  Scout Rapid  and Serpentine Slide.  The scenery and vegetation on this section of river is unique, including the carnivorous Pitcher Plant.

As stated earlier check with those who have made these runs and/or other authorities. The site KevsMom is a good beginning source.

Travel Oregon and northern California while staying at Gathering Light ... a retreat
located in southern Oregon near Crater Lake National Park.

Travel to Gathering Light from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park or via the Umpqua Scenic Byway. The Umpqua Scenic Byway: follow the Umpqua River from Reedsport, to Sutherlin on I - 5. From there head south 10 miles to Roseburg, Oregon and access the Umpqua Scenic Byway: Directions, Map and Scenery: hiking trails, waterfalls, mountains.

Directions to and Day Trips of about 100 miles from the retreat.

Little known Scenic Places: hiking, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, birding ... Directions Map and Scenery. Local Maps Introduction.

Website Directory     Page Listings     Home Page

the sunset log cabin at gathering light ... a retreat in southern oregon near crater lake national park: cabins, treehouses on the river in the forest.

Contact Brad at Gathering Light ... a retreat.