Between the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada, California has the best, most accessible whitewater in the world. Snowmelt as well as dam-release provides plenty of year-round whitewater throughout the state. Sierras' snowmelt gives way to springtime/early summer runs such as the Merced, Kings, N. Fork American, and Kaweah. In the summer, dam-released flows on classic rivers such as the South Fork of the Fork American, Kern, and Tuolumne attract thousands of rafters and kayakers every year. And the flows from the Coast Range rivers such as the Smith, Eel, or Russian are dependent on winter rains.

Coast Range

Sierra Nevada (Sacramento River Drainage)

Sierra Nevada (San Joaquin River Drainage)

Southern California

California has over 1,400 dams. Some rivers, such as the Stanislaus, have been lost (almost) forever because of these dams. Because of the the myriad dam projects, however, there are often paved roads leading to put-ins. Shuttles are often longer than in, say Oregon, but there's less of a chance of a popped tire out in the middle of nowhere.