Skip to content

Best Sacramento Kayaking Destinations

Kayak Rapids in American River, CA

Sacramento is one of the most historic cities in California. It boasts an impressive array of landmarks and parks, but it’s also surrounded by stunning lakes and rivers making the capital city a top destination for kayakers.

Best Places to Kayak Near Sacramento

You’ll find every kind of kayaking from heart-thumping white-water rapids to secluded flatwater near Sacramento. Escape the city and hit the water with these best kayaking destinations near Sacramento, California.

The American River, CA

For the best white-water kayaking near Sacramento, head to the foothills of the Sierras and The American River. This river flows right through the heart of Sacramento and offers a little bit of everything from Class II and III up to Class V. The south fork offers a nice beginner Class II run from Coloma to Lotus, as well as the more advanced Class III Chili Bar Rapids and below that the Gorge Run with its Class II and III. Expert kayakers looking for a bigger thrill will head for the legendary North Fork with some of the best Class IV and V rapids in the country.

The Sacramento River, CA

The Sacramento River flows an impressive, yet leisurely 375 miles from Mount Shasta to the San Francisco Bay. It winds its way through the Central Valley at a slow and mellow pace and is an excellent choice for a scenic paddle. The 33-mile stretch from Redding to Balls Ferry offers the best spot for kayak fishing, with lots of trout and salmon. It’s also a great destination for deer, beaver, otter, bird, fox, bobcat, and coyote sightings.

Slab Creek Reservoir, CA

The best hidden gem in the Sacramento area for kayaking is the Slab Creek Reservoir. On the South Fork of the American River, you’ll find this quiet and remote reservoir. No motorized vessels are allowed, and a large dam blocks the roiling whitewater from the reservoir to create a scenic and secluded flatwater kayaking destination. Enjoy the peace and quiet, lush pine trees, towering canyon wall and a few sparking waterfalls.

Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, CA

The best kayaking destination for wildlife viewing is Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. This is an urban refuge for birds and wildlife traveling through the Central Valley. It’s 10 miles from downtown Sacramento and home to more than 200 species of birds and numerous other fish and wildlife species. The refuge hosts free three-hour guided wildlife viewing tours. No reservations needed, just show up at one of the scheduled tour times with your own vessel to participate.

Sacramento Kayak Racks & Storage Options

For the best kayak storage, consider Log Kayak Rack and our 100% cedar log kayak storage racks. Beautiful and practical, our kayak racks safely store and display kayaks, neatly organizing shorelines, backyards, parks and rental facilities. Shop our kayak racks online now or contact us for a custom kayak storage solution to meet your Sacramento kayak storage needs.