Lower Klamath River

Overnight Wilderness Trip for Families!

ABOUTLower Klamath River Rafting

  • One of the first rivers in California to be named a Wild and Scenic River and awarded the 2024 River of the Year by American Rivers
  • Features large, sandy beaches to lounge on and warm, clear waters to swim in
  • Offers three incredible days of river rafting— perfect for families with kids ages 4+
  • Opportunity to take a beautiful side hike to the remote Ukonum Falls, a pair of twin waterfalls spilling 25 feet down to a swimming hole
  • A birdwatcher’s dream! Countless migratory birds and the nearby wildlife refuges have the largest winter population of bald eagles in the Lower 48 states
  • Fantastic fishing for both steelhead at our overnight camps
  • Watch for black bears, otters, and deer as you raft through the Klamath-Siskiyou region, one of the most biodiverse areas of the US. Maybe you’ll even see Bigfoot!
  • Navigate smaller rapids yourself in our inflatable kayaks

Hidden deep in the northwest corner of California is one of the state’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers and the third longest river in the US: the Klamath River. Originating just over the border in Oregon, the Klamath River winds 257 miles through the Cascade Mountains and into California before flowing into the Pacific Ocean just south of Crescent City.

Tributary offers trips on the Lower Klamath River, a fun, splashy section that winds through the Siskiyou Mountains of the Coast Range in California. This mountain range is one of the most biodiverse temperate regions in the world and features rugged mountains and rainforests, as well as an abundance of plants and wildlife, including black bears, otters, deer, and numerous fish species like steelhead and coho salmon. Countless migratory birds also use the area and the nearby wildlife refuges are home to the largest wintering population of bald eagles in the Lower 48 states.

Nearly 188 miles of the Lower Klamath River has been nationally designated as a Wild and Scenic River for its outstanding water quality and recreational, wildlife, and historical values. A Wild and Scenic River designation ensures that the Lower Klamath River will remain a pristine, free-flowing river for generations to come, and conservation efforts are currently underway to make the river even more diverse and pristine.

The Lower Klamath River is one of the few rivers in California that offers contiguous, multi-day whitewater rafting trips. Tributary’s three-day rafting trip down the Lower Klamath River is perfect for friends and families, young and old.

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Let's GoLower Klamath River Rafting

Dates: May
- August
Starting at



WHY GOLower Klamath River Rafting

The Lower Klamath River is peppered with fun, accessible rapids for most ages, from splashy Class II to the exciting Class III+ rapids of the Dragon’s Tooth. You can choose to skip Class III rapids if you prefer, making this a great trip for children ages 4 and up, as well as non-swimmers. Rafters can also try their hand at some of the smaller rapids in inflatable kayaks. 

Tributary offers a three-day, two-night rafting and camping adventure down the Lower Klamath River. After full days of rafting and looking for wildlife, evenings are spent fishing from shore, playing games on the sandy beaches, and sitting around the campfire before retiring to cozy tents to sleep. There’s also the option to take a short hike to the remote Ukonom Twin Falls, a pair of beautiful twin waterfalls that are accessible only by raft.

The Lower Klamath River is perfect for beginners and family groups of all ages looking to take on their first multi-day river expedition.

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History & Wildlife

The Lower Klamath River’s headwaters are in Oregon, and it flows from a combination of underground springs, rivers, marshes, and lakes. As a Wild and Scenic River, the Lower Klamath is renowned for its fish and wildlife. Black bears, otters, deer, steelhead, and Chinook and coho salmon can all be seen along the river. There’s even a chance you could see Bigfoot the Lower Klamath also follows the “Bigfoot Scenic Byway,” which boasts the most sightings of Bigfoot in the country.

The Klamath River Basin is also a crucial stop along the Pacific Flyway, which extends from Patagonia to Alaska and is one of four major migratory bird routes in North America. Over a billion birds use the Pacific Flyway each year, including the largest population of eagles in the Lower 48 states, which winter in the wildlife refuges near the California border. The Lower Klamath River is a birdwatcher’s paradise! 

The name “Klamath” itself was derived from the Chinook word “tlamatl”, which means swiftness. The Klamath River was once the third largest salmon-producing river on the West Coast, and Native Americans, including the Klamath, the Modoc, and the Yahooskin-Paiute people, have relied on the river’s fisheries for over 7,000 years. In the 1820s, European fur trappers entered the Klamath River Basin for the first time, followed shortly after by prospectors drawn there by the California Gold Rush. Conflicts and diseases brought by Europeans decimated the Native American population by 90 percent, but some Native American tribes still retain their indigenous homelands along the river. 

Conservation efforts are underway to remove four dams constructed in the early and mid-twentieth century along the Upper Klamath River. This is one of the largest dam removal projects in the world, and it will hopefully restore the river’s ecosystem and increase fish habitat throughout the river.

QUESTIONS ABOUTLower Klamath River Rafting

Can you kayak the Klamath River?

Yes, on our wilderness Klamath rafting trips inflatable kayaks are available for our guests to enjoying. Previous kayaking skills are not required, but folks interested should be adventurous and in good shape.

What Class is the Klamath River?

It depends which section you are rafting. Our Lower Klamath River trips are Class II and III and are perfect for families and for those who haven’t been rafting before.

What are the four dams on the Klamath River?

There are 4 hydroelectric dams scheduled for removal on the Klamath River.

  1. Copco Dam #1
  2. Copco Dam #2
  3. Iron Gate Dam
  4. JC Boyle Dam

Where to stay near Happy Camp?

There are camping, cabin and hotel options in and near Happy Camp, CA.

What class rapids are on the Lower Klamath River?

The lower Klamath River is a Beginner to Intermediate course that has Class 2-3.

Where is the Lower Klamath River?

The Klamath River runs through southern Oregon and northern California.

What to do on the Lower Klamath River?

While on the Lower Klamath River, fishing is a popular activity to do on the course. This is namely due to the large population of salmon that inhabit the river.

How long does it take to float the Lower Klamath River?

The total trip length is 28 miles, therefore it takes 3 days total.

What makes the Lower Klamath River Wild and Scenic?

It is a vital watercourse renowned for its scenic beauty, diverse ecosystems, and cultural significance. The Lower Klamath River is also a refuge for birds during migration season.

Where to fish on the Lower Klamath River?

The best place to fish would be in the lower section of the river.

The river supports diverse fish populations namely for species such as salmon and steelhead fish. These fish play an integral role in the region’s ecological dynamics. Fishing is a great activity for when visitors at overnight camps.

What are some fun facts about the Lower Klamath River?

  • The Klamath Basin is renowned for being a vital stop along the Pacific Flyway, attracting millions of migratory birds during their annual journeys.
  • The largest population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states winters in several national wildlife refuges along the Lower Klamath River.
  • The river passes through five hydropower dams.
  • The the river reaches the Pacific Ocean south.
  • What is the Lower Klamath River famous for?” style=”fancy”]
  • The Lower Klamath River is famous for being the third largest salmon producing river on the West Coast.

What are the biggest rapids on the Lower Klamath River?

The biggest rapids on the Lower Klamath River are the Kanaka Falls/Rattlesnake and the Class 3+ Dragon’s Tooth

I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?

If individuals are not comfortable with swimming, they are still welcome to experience the rafting course.


We hold deep respect for the ancestral Indigenous lands that we operate on. 

The Klamath River Basin has been home to Indigenous communities for thousands of years, including the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa, Shasta, and Klamath tribes, who have cultivated a deep connection with the river and maintain the health of the river today. The name “Klamath” was derived from the Indian word “Tlamatl”, which means “swiftness” in the Chinook language.

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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