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River: Eel River Main Stem
Put in: South Fork Bridge Dyersville
Take out: Pepperwood
Class: I
Distance: 9.3 Miles
Gauge: Eel River at Scotia
Flow: 6000?td>
Boat: 17′ Aluminum Canoe with two dogs
Shuttle: 5 minutes
Info: Kayak Lunartics

A really enjoyable flat water paddle.  We didn’t have ideal sun and the wind was against us, but the paddle was lazy and easy but the river moved us along.  The scenery was beautiful with cliff walls and redwood trees.  We could hear but not see the road until the take out.  We got treated to an eagle diving for dinner, deer, geese and otters.


The best part of this paddle was that it could be done with the dogs (PFDs optional).  They were totally fine and got to play in the water at the put in, take out and in the middle.  The entire paddle took about three hours with our lazy pace.  There is one hazard to be aware of.  In the middle of the run, there is a low water road.  At higher flows it is a low head dam, so be careful crossing it.  You can check it out on the map (it is shown as a road crossing the river).  Also watch for big stumps towards the end.

View Interactive Map on

Directions to take out:  From Eureka go south on 101 until you get to the second Avenue of the Giants Exit (Pepperwood).  Turn left at the Avenue and follow until you see a dirt road going to the river (there is a gate across it).  This leads to a bar.  Right across the way is a smaller cliff wall that you will use to recognize it.  You will also come across Bear Creek on the left right before take out.

Directions to put in:  Either continue on Avenue of the Giants, or go back to the freeway and take 101-S until you see the exit for Honeydew and the Founders Tree.  Turn Left at the exit and then right over the bridge.  Then take an immediate right and another right onto a dirt road.  This goes right down below the bridge to a nice beach on the South Fork.