One of the best ways to fully appreciate the abundant natural beauty of the Russian River Valley is to slow the pace down with a canoe trip on the Russian River. A few things are guaranteed to happen when you push the bow of your canoe into the water:
You will spot wildlife. Everything from herons, egrets, turtles and osprey to deer, migrating salmon and the occasional eagle or otter.
You will get wet – either by accident because you tipped your canoe or very much on purpose if you decide to take a swim at one of the river’s many deep and deliciously clear and cold pools. Don’t worry, there are plenty of warm, sunny beaches along the way where you can dry off quickly.
Your blood pressure will drop dramatically.
Many stretches of the river are leisurely floats of six to eight miles. Others are longer and more challenging. A stretch of the upper Russian River as it passes through the Alexander Valley offers some drama in the form of tight turns, boulders and overhanging trees. It’s a perfect trip for someone wanting more of a challenge. For families with younger children, a popular run begins near Guerneville and takes you close to the fishing village of Jenner where the river empties into the Pacific Ocean.
If you don’t have your own canoe, several outfitting companies make it easy to rent a boat (and just about everything else you need) for a day on the water. The best months for canoeing are May through October.