Trinity River below Douglas City
This is one of the most scenic beginner runs in California, and would be more popular if it were closer to population centers. For the middle third of the trip there is no road anywhere near the river, and even in its upper and lower thirds, the river corridor retains a nice wilderness feel. Trout fishing is good, and salmon and steelhead runs occur at certain times of the year. Although gold was first discovered along the Trinity just above Reading Creek in Douglas City (then called Kanaka Bar), this section is not as devastated by hydraulic mining as the section from Junction City to the North Fork.
Here is the latest Flow Release Schedule for Lewiston Dam. At low flows, some rapids become rockier and more technical. At high flows, watch out for down trees and brush along the banks.
The Douglas City BLM campground is superb, with flush toilets and spacious campsites among tall trees. Primitive camping is also available along the right bank downstream of put-in. The lumbering and resort town of Weaverville is along your shuttle route, and offers good restaurants and motels for those not inclined to camp.
Above this run, the Trinity is runnable class I-II all the way from Lewiston to Douglas City campground, and very scenic. Also nearby, upper Indian Creek (a tributary just above put-in) has a fine class IV+ run with many sweet bedrock drops. It sometimes reaches 150 cfs in spring, the minimum level recommended for kayaking.
To reach take-out, drive west from Redding on highway 299 about 57 miles to the sign at the edge of Junction City. Turn sharp left onto Sky Ranch Road and drive .6 mile. Just after crossing Oregon Gulch creek there is a dirt turnout with a trail descending to the creek and then the river.
To reach put-in from there, return uphill to Weaverville and downhill to the Douglas City turnoff. Just past the general store and a motel, turn right onto an unmarked paved road. Soon, take the left fork, not the right fork to the local school. At the top of the first hill, turn left and descend steeply to the BLM campground. The best river access is at the downstream end of the campground.
It might be possible to pre-arrange a shuttle by contacting the Douglas City general store, 530-623-6376. They can give you the phone number of a shuttle driver.
Map of Rivers