Trinity River from Hayden Flat to Cedar Flat
This is one of the best class II to III transition runs in California, although it is neither widely known nor often boated. Flows fluctuate seasonally, but the Trinity runs all year long, and its water is clear and clean, even turning warm in summertime.
Here is the latest Flow Schedule for Lewiston Dam releases.
From the north fork confluence to Big Flat, the Trinity is class III with one class IV- rapid, as described in Trinity Pigeon Point. Between Big Flat and Hayden Flat, highway 299 closely follows the Trinity. Rapids are mostly class II, often with long stretches of flatwater in between. Combined with this run, that stretch makes a good marathon paddling session. The section from Big Flat to French Bar is pleasant, with many good class II and II+ rapids to make it worthwhile. The section from French Bar to Hayden Flat contains a class II+ rapid and supposedly a cave (we have not seen it) just below put-in, but the remainder of the run is boring.
Below Hayden Flat, the canyon deepens, and the road is often hidden by trees. Rapids are closer together, and several of them verge on class III, with hydraulic features more than one meter tall. Lengthwise, inflatable kayaks can handle large hydraulics, but sideways they cannot, so remember the adage, “when in doubt, straighten out!”
To reach put-in from there, drive upstream about 7 miles to the Hayden Flat USFS campground, and park along the road or downhill. If you reach the hamlet of Del Loma you have gone too far.
There are many other good access points upstream, for example (moving up) French Bar 3.4 miles upriver, White's Bar picnic area 6.6 miles upriver, and Big Bar ranger station 8.9 miles upriver. The French Bar alternative is excellent because it gives you a notable rapid just below French Creek, and a mile of river well away from highway 299.
Map of Rivers