Cal Salmon River

Class IV and V River Rafting

ABOUTCal Salmon River Rafting

  • Raft Wild & Scenic the California Salmon (Cal Salmon) and Scott River
  • Must do section for experienced rafters
  • Challenging Class IV and V rapids
  • The Cal. Salmon River is free-flowing, so entirely dependent on snow-melt. Check our Predictions Page for expected flow conditions.

The magnificent California Salmon & Scott rivers are natural wild and scenic river tributaries of the mighty Klamath River. They tumble swiftly out of the Marble Mountains and the Salmon-Trinity Alps Wilderness areas. Wildlife is plentiful, but easily hidden in this rugged terrain.

The Scott River has a shorter season and is best during higher snowpack years. This is due to the fact it is on the east “drier” side of the mountain range. California Salmon river rafting trips however run later than most of the Class 4/5 runs further south.



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Let's GoCal Salmon River Rafting

Dates: April
- May
Starting at



WHY GOCal Salmon River Rafting

What sets the Cal Salmon River apart from other rivers is its unique combination of rugged wilderness, challenging rapids, and ecological significance. Nestled within the Klamath Mountains of Northern California, the Cal Salmon River traverses a landscape of unparalleled natural beauty, featuring deep canyons, dense forests, and pristine wilderness. Its renowned rapids, ranging from class IV to V, attract adrenaline-seeking kayakers and rafters from around the world, offering an exhilarating and technically demanding adventure.

The California Salmon & Scott River rafting trips are two of California’s top spring rivers providing Class 4 and 5 rafting thrills.

These rafting trips are recommended for experienced rafting clients who are in good physical condition and very capable swimmers. Previous Class 4 experience is a must and a swim test may be given.

Please use our Contact Form or call us to be added to our waitlist – we don’t want anyone to miss out on these trips, our guides are stoked.

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History & Wildlife

The history of the Cal Salmon River is deeply intertwined with the indigenous peoples of Northern California, who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. Native American tribes, such as the Karuk and Yurok, have long regarded the river as a vital resource, relying on its waters for sustenance and spiritual significance. The river served as a critical transportation route and a source of abundant fish, particularly salmon, which played a central role in the cultural and economic practices of these communities. With the arrival of European settlers, the dynamics of land use along the Cal Salmon River shifted, impacting both the ecosystem and the indigenous way of life. Today, the river remains an important area for cultural preservation, as well as a testament to the complex interplay between human history and the natural environment.

In terms of wildlife, the Cal Salmon River is a thriving ecosystem that supports a diverse array of species. Salmon and steelhead trout are iconic inhabitants, making arduous journeys upriver to spawn in the same waters that have sustained their ancestors for generations. The river and its surrounding areas provide critical habitat for a variety of bird species, including bald eagles and ospreys, which can be spotted soaring above the water. The lush riparian zones and dense forests along the riverbanks are home to an abundance of terrestrial wildlife, such as black bears, deer, and various small mammals. The Cal Salmon River, with its rich ecological tapestry, stands as a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna, contributing to the broader biodiversity of Northern California.

QUESTIONS ABOUTCal Salmon River Rafting

What class rapids are on the Cal Salmon River?

The Cal Salmon river run from Nordheimer to Somes Bar has many Class IV and V rapids. This a challenging run sought after by kayakers and rafters.

What class rapids are on the Cal Salmon River?

The Cal Salmon River features Class 4 & 5 rapids.

Where is the Cal Salmon River?

Six Rivers National Forest near Somes Bar, CA

What to do on the Cal Salmon River?

The Cal Salmon River offers a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, providing a diverse and exciting experience in the heart of the Klamath Mountains of Northern California. One of the primary attractions is whitewater rafting and kayaking. The river is renowned for its challenging class IV and V rapids, making it a popular destination for thrill-seekers seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

What makes the Cal Salmon River Wild and Scenic?

As one makes their way down the river, they are greeted by the river’s remarkable scenic views. The steep canyons, dense forests, and remote setting contribute to an undisturbed and visually stunning environment.

Where to fish on the Cal Salmon River?

The Cal Salmon River is commonly known for fishing as the main species, Salmon, occupies the waters.

What are some fun facts about the Cal Salmon River?

It is named after its main inhabitant: Salmon!

What is the Cal Salmon River famous for?

It is famous for its habitat for Salmon since a majority of the species can be found here. It is also known for its challenging rapids that most outdoor enthusiasts seek in addition to the historic and cultural heritage of the Cal Salmon River.

What are the biggest rapids on the Cal Salmon River?

The biggest rapid on the Cal Salmon River is called the Freight Train. It drops approximately 25 feet.

I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?

Due to the nature of the Class IV and Class V rapids, the over trip is not recommended to those who do not have previous experience rafting or swimming. Upon arrival, rafters will be tested on their swimming abilities.


As we journey down the Cal Salmon River, we’ll pass through lands rich in history and culture. These territories belong to the Karuk and Yurok. Recognizing these communities is a way of honoring their legacy, their lives, and their descendants.

Acknowledging the Indigenous communities whose lands we visit is a crucial step in understanding our shared history and the ongoing challenges faced by these populations today. For more insight, visit our Territory Acknowledgement page. We encourage you to learn about the people whose land we’re privileged to explore by following the links above.

Our Territory Acknowledgement is an evolving project. If you find missing information or acknowledgments, please share it with us. Together, we can ensure accuracy, inclusivity, and respect. Thank you.

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