The Salmon & Klamath Rivers
Otter Bar is located on the Salmon River (a.k.a. Cal Salmon) about two miles downstream from the confluence of the river’s North and South Forks. Hence, the name of our nearest town, Forks of Salmon.
The river flows freely and un-dammed from source to sea. There are no cities, industry, or commercial agriculture in the watershed. There are three designated wilderness areas and a small population of self-reliant people.
The Salmon River watershed is an oasis, a remnant of wild land from which flows one of the world’s most beautiful rivers. True to its name, the clear river hosts a run of salmon and steelhead, some of which you may see during your visit. From a kayaking perspective, the river and its forks offer stretches suitable for beginner through expert skill levels and truly ranks among the most spectacular rivers anywhere.
The Salmon flows into the Klamath River about 16 miles downstream of the lodge at the tiny town of Somes Bar.
The Klamath is an astounding river: its watershed spans from Oregon’s high desert to Redwood National Park on the Pacific Coast. It is the second largest river in the state, draining an area the size of New England. Along its way to the ocean, the Klamath picks up the Shasta, Scott, Salmon, and Trinity rivers and dozens of mountain streams. Within the watershed is Mount Shasta (14,162 ft.); Crater Lake; the Klamath Lakes; the Siskiyou, Marble Mountain, Russian, and Trinity Alps wilderness areas; Redwood National Park; two national monuments; and seven national forests. Like the Salmon, the river’s canyon is rugged and heavily forested.
The mainstay of our beginner program is the Klamath, which is a classic pool-drop river with long, slow pools separating the rapids, with warm water in the summer!
Both rivers have been designated as National Wild & Scenic Rivers by the United States Congress, a status very few rivers receive.