One mile north of Forestville, CA sits a canoe put-in spot just steps from the Russian River, where Burke's Canoe Trips will outfit your family with a canoe, paddles and life-jackets for the day. This all-day, unplugged adventure, requires two adults and children (5 and over) who can swim.
Burke's operates seven days a week until the end of September and into October “as long as October is willing to cooperate,” said the owner, Linda, on the phone. “October has a mind of its own.”
Guests wear swimsuits, water shoes, and bring plenty of food and drinks. Ice chests are welcome. You'll need to stay hydrated.
Paddling ten miles downstream, from Forestville to Guerneville through the redwood forest, takes about three hours of paddling with moderate effort. Plan to spend 5 or 6 hours on the river because you will want to stop for picnicking and swimming.
The water level is extremely low in many places; our canoe scraped the bottom of the river several times, which is sort of a thrill and sort of a pain. It is easy to paddle as the trip is in the direction of a gentle current.
Canoes seat two adults, one on the front and one on the back, and there is enough room for two children to sit on the floor of the canoe. There are many beaches to pull over at along the way. At the take-out point, Burke's picks paddlers up in a school bus every 30 minutes until 6 pm to deliver them back to their cars.
There are also campsites — with showers — at the start of the trip if you want to make a weekend out of it. (Wonderful campsite, Schoolhouse Canyon, is close by.)
The price is $65 for a canoe, regardless how many occupants. Call ahead to make reservations.
Burke's Canoe Trips is located at the intersection of Mirabel Road at 8600 River Road, Forestville, CA. Forestville is about 20 miles from Santa Rosa– or two hours from Oakland.