U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 233

Susan River Kayaking

thumbnail photo of ers at Pinball RocksOnly 40 miles long and no wider than 75 feet, Northeast California’s Susan River pales in comparison to California’s mighty rivers such as the Sacramento and American.

Thumbnail photo of ocks at Pinball RapidRising from rugged volcanic plateaus near Lassen Volcanic National Park, the river is best known as the scenic backdrop for the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail as it flows across public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake Field Office and the Lassen National Forest.

Diehard kayakers, however, are discovering that the tiny Susan River can offer challenging runs, with some rapids rated at class four or greater.

Prime time for experienced kayakers is spring when the river runs high and cold with spring snowmelt.

“We recommend that only experienced kayakers attempt the river during spring,” says Stan Bales, a BLM outdoor recreation planner who has kayaked the Susan for years. “During summer the flow drops considerably. Kids on inner tubes become the primary ‘boaters’ then,” he said.

Below, kayakers discuss their path through a rapid named KC’s demise.
Kayakers look downriver from a high bank, as they discuss their path through the rapid

Below, a water’s eye view in KC’s demise, and second photo, the rapids just below the Bizz Johnson Trail. (the trail is on the right, part way up the hill)>
Front view, from water level, as a kayker approaches through the rapids

A kayaker runs the rapids rapids just below the Bizz Johnson Trail

Another challenging run occurs at Pinball Rapid, aptly named for the rocks. The location is also near BLM-managed parts of the Bizz Johnson Trail:
Two kayakers maneuver among the rocks at Pinball Rapid

Close-up of one of the kayakers at Pinball Rocks

Kayakers pass beneath massive concrete and steel bridges that once carried trains through the Susan River Canyon
Kayakers pass beneath massive concrete and steel bridges that once carried trains through the Susan River Canyon

 

Real time flow information for the Susan River and other California streams is available at www.dreamflows.com.

May, 2006


BLM California News.bytes, issue 233