Here is a list of places and descriptions for you to kayak in Napa.
The first on our list is the obvious. The Napa river. The rivers source is Kimball Canyon Creek which is located on the Southern slope of Mt. St Helena. It is approximately 55 miles long. The river is the heart of the valley and flows through every Napa Valley community before reaching the San Pablo Bay.
The river forms a tidal estuary South of the City of Napa. The daily tides affect the river as far north as Trancas st. The eco system of the river becomes dramatically different in this area. As opposed to wide open tidal areas it becomes heavily wooded. Most of trees along the river area California Bay ( yes you can use the leaves for cooking ) and Dogwood.
Interesting Facts About the Napa River that Few Locals Know!
When you kayak the Napa River south of Trancas st. you may notice that the river has low clarity. A friends grandparents told me that when they moved here they could see to the bottom of the Napa River at Third st. bridge. They also said on the east side of the bridge it was a beautiful white sandy beach.
Many of us have assumed that the Napa Tannery and other pollution is the cause of the lack of clarity of the water. However I discovered that the lack of clarity is actually in large part due to another human cause.
After the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 the river bottom was scraped for rocks. This was used to help rebuild San Francisco. This has had a huge affect on the rivers clarity over the years.
Another thing that locals do not realize is that Beavers have returned to the area after nearly being hunted to extinction. They have been steadily working their way down the valley and building their dams along the tributaries. If you are lucky you may see one when you kayak Napa.
Lake Hennessey/Conn Dam
You can also Kayak Napa at Lake Hennessey. No bodily contact is allowed with the water. this is because it is a water reservoir for the local community. However there is a chance you may see Bald Eagles when you kayak here. Other wildlife includes Grebes, Egrets and the Great Blue Heron. On the shores you should be aware that there is a chance of Rattle Snakes.
You will need to purchase a boating permit here which is $4 for the day or $25 for the year.
This is the largest lake in Napa County. You can Kayak here out to one of the many Islands including “Eagle Island” which is where Bald Eagles have their nests. Though it is a fun place to kayak Napa -especially to the islands- I generally don’t recommend it due to the power boats that frequent the lake. It does have fishing and camping available though and several resorts.
Kayak Napa and Enjoy Napa Valley!