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California River Maps
There are many gorgeous rivers in California that are perfect for camping and fishing, but none are located in Southern California. None! Yep, you read that right. If you think about it, Cali is half desert! The majority of our natural water in our state is coming from the north – so take this as a warning: you might need to drive a few hours to find your ideal river camp.
The easy-to-access waterways are found mostly along highways in the Sierra Nevada – or way up in NorCal. Deep granite gorges carved out by glaciers, surrounded by forested peaks is only half the appeal. High elevation lakes, waterfalls, big trees, abundant wildlife, and the alpine villages are all part of the Sierra Nevada experience. Raft, kayak, fly fish, hike, bike or just camp out next to a big, rushing, flowing river. Our selection of California maps will get you narrowed down to a specific region, so you can find that perfect river campground, or explore and discover the back roads – for the most seclusion.
AMERICAN RIVER – El Dorado NF Map
FEATHER RIVER Recreation Map
FEATHER RIVER – Plumas NF Map
CONSUMNES RIVER – Stanislaus NF Map
KERN RIVER – Sequoia NF Map
KINGS RIVER – Sierra NF Map
KINGS RIVER – Sequoia Kings Canyon Map
KINGS RIVER – Kings Cyn NP
MERCED RIVER – Sierra NF Map
MERCED RIVER – Yosemite NP
MOKELUMNE RIVER – El Dorado NF Map
OWENS RIVER – Inyo NF Map
STANISLAUS RIVER – Stanislaus NF Map
S YUBA RIVER Recreation Map
YUBA RIVER – Tahoe NF Map
KERN RIVER: The Kern River is the most popular of all the rivers due to it’s proximity to SoCal. Hurried, stressed-out, Angelinos can be at this destination in under 3 hours which makes it a very busy place in summer months. So, let it be told, that summer is not the best time to enjoy the Kern. If you do plan a summer outting, make sure you head for the Upper Kern (10+ mi N of Kernville) or the North Fork of the Kern (out in Monache Meadows) where 4×4 is often needed. The Lower Kern River has only 2 developed campgrounds: Hobo (closed for winter) and Sandy Flat (open all year). Numerous primitive camp spots are available along Old Kern Canyon Rd, which parallels the Hwy 178 on the south side. None of which are located at the rivers edges. Fire danger is great in this area, so pay extra close attention to signs and fire restrictions.
YOSEMITE RIVER: Take note, this is the most popular park in the whole state. The majority of campers want to stay right on the river when they visit Yosemite National Park, but that is just plain old impossible, since reservations go fast and there is only so much room for everyone in this enclosed, narrow, precious valley. This particular park has some major floods (recently 1997 & 2005) that wipe out bridges, the road ways, all the old wooden cabins (at Yosemite Lodge) are gone and only half of the campgrounds are still available. Yosemite has had 11 winter floods since 1916 that have caused substantial damage to property.
3 Yosemite Campgrounds are located next to the Merced River (inside Yosemite Valley)
- Lower Pines Campground
- North Pines Campground
- Upper Pines Campground
Way up in the Yosemite high country (which is only open a few months outta the year) the Tuolumne Meadows Campground is located next to lush meadows and the scenic Tuolumne River. All these Yosemite campsites must be reserved well in advance!
STANISLAUS RIVER: This area is the Sonora Pass and the fishing is very decent way back in this granite gorge. The highway 108 is only open a few months outta the year, due to snow & rock slides – so time is of the essence. Summer time that is. Several campgrounds are located right on the river, or on the major feeder streams. Or you can opt for secluded primitive camping on the back roads. Find Sonora camping in Stanislaus National Forest.
YUBA RIVER: The biggest play time river in the northern Gold Country, this runs along Hwy 49 near Downieville and also has a major South Fork for the best swimming holes and primitive camping in this region. Tubing, rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, gold panning, you name it, Yuba has it. Look for more on the South Yuba Recreation map, or Plumas National Forest map.
FEATHER RIVER: The top fishing river in the Lassen area. Close to Chester and Lake Almanor. High Bridge Campground is located is an awesome forested spot where you can fish 2 rivers on the same day. A Lassen Topo Atlas or Lassen National Forest map would be quite helpful for this region.
KINGS RIVER: This one particular river is the longest in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, pulling snow melt from the upper reaches of the High Country and Mount Whitney. The river area just to the West of the National Park, over to Pine Flat Reservoir, is all prime for outdoor recreation. Several river rafting companies work this stretch of river.