The first time I went, I was with 2 other friends and we had NO idea what to do.
Literally, no clue.
We bought tubes from Target that are meant for kiddie pools and wouldn’t blow up or plug up. Not sure how, but we didn’t bring food, only booze. We also didn’t bring an extra car and we didn’t know what the EFF we were doing.
If it hadn’t been for kind people to offer to drive us back and duct tape our tube, we’d still be lost on the river.
5 years later I can consider myself a ‘floating on the Russian River champ.’ This past weekend my friends and I organized a 40-50 person group float down the river and it went off without a hitch!
So, in an effort to help other lost river souls like myself, here are my main tips for a Russian River Float Trip!
All of this information has been updated and is current for 2017.
1. The River:
California is in a drought…we all know this and it’s no exception for the CA rivers. In the past years the water has been extremely low at the Russian River, but don’t let this discourage you! The current of the river still moves and you can still float, you just might have to get out of the water a couple times to walk your tube through the shallow patches. It’s still fun!
2. Where to go:
My friends and I always get in at the Steelhead Beach area. It’s $7 for the day for your car (credit or cash) and you just put the receipt in your window. Park in the first main parking lot by the bathrooms. To enter the water you’ll walk down the path past the bathrooms and by the water. Voila you’re on your way to floating bliss.
Some type of sandal. I always wear my Chacos so my feet don’t get scratched up when I need to walk in the water
Garbage bags, plastic bag for phone or keys if you decide to bring them
GoPro, waterproof camera case
4. What to Do When You Get There:
It’s best to get there mid-morning because it will take a bit to get your tubes blown up. By the time you’re done it will hopefully be sunny and perfect!
We usually bring air mattress pumps to pump up in the bathroom outlets. However, sometimes they don’t work. Make sure you have a different plan just in case. Usually, there are other people around if you get desperate and need to use their pumps!
Make sure to take a car or two to the end of the float. If you want a shorter 3-4 hour float I would end at Mother’s Beach. If you want it longer, park before the bridge on River Road.
5. Oh and don’t forget to take a stop at “Shotgun Island” halfway down the way!
It’s a sand bar that you can stop and chug beers on. Do it….why not?!
It’s such a fun weekend activity and a great escape from the city! Enjoy it and just remember to clean up after yourselves! There are trash bins at Mother’s Beach and back at Steelhead.
Thanks to my friend Kurt for the photos and to the others who post on FB that I stole from! Next time I’ll have my own Gopro to bring 🙂
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Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.