The Smith River National Recreation
The Smith River National Recreation Area’s 300,000 acres encompass the largest undammed wild and scenic river watershed in the United States. Unparalleled in beauty, the Smith River offers countless recreational opportunities. Kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, swimming, and wildlife viewing can all be enjoyed here.
Much of the Smith River Recreation Area is still only accessible by getting off the main road and walking. Solitude and pristine, natural settings can be found throughout the area’s 300,000 acres. Over 65 miles of trails give access to the botanical areas, forested ridges, craggy peaks, grassy meadows, scenic rivers and mountain lakes of the Smith River National Recreation Area.
Miles of whitewater rapids flow through the canyons of the Smith River and its four main tributaries, creating exciting kayaking and canoeing adventures. All five whitewater classifications exist here and many of the rapids can be ridden year round on the South Fork and for much of the year on the Middle and North Forks. Summer rafting family fun is also to be had here when long stretches of the river run slow and calm.
Del Norte County
Del Norte County has one of the largest bear populations in California. In spring and fall, there are dozens of bear sightings each day. There are also many other types of wildlife in the area which is home to a wide range of animals, including Elk, Deer, Raccoons and a wide variety of birds. Early morning along the river is the best time and place to view them. Though beautiful and majestic, all wildlife can be dangerous.
The Smith River and its main tributaries have almost 200 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. Within the Smith River watershed are around 115 miles of streams available to anglers seeking quiet and solitude while fishing for native trout. The six lakes in the Smith River National Recreation Area are stocked with trout by the California Department of Fish and Game.