Navarro - Hendy Woods State Park to Navarro Beach

Navarro, California, US


Hendy Woods State Park to Navarro Beach

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 20 Miles


Photo by Harry Dundore taken 03/28/09 @ 450 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11468000 400 - 2000 cfs I-II 01h06m 2320 cfs (too high)

River Description


This beautiful stretch of redwood-lined river is usually run as two distinct sections.

The upper "wilderness run" is 12 miles of class I+ to II depending on flows, mostly roadless, heavily forested, and seldom run. Once started on this run, you are committed to finishing or walking out on a logging road. Best for novice to intermediate levels with strong maneuvering skills. Put-In at Hendy CG on route 128 (Greenwood - Philo Road). Take out at Dimmick CG. Watch for wood hazards. Best for IKs and hardshells.

The "ocean run" is 8 miles (seems like more) from Dimmick CG to the lagoon on Hwy 1. Class I to I+. Starts out narrow, winding and brushy creeking with some wood hazards, soon opens up to a nice float through open redwood country much like a smaller version of the south fork Eel, with lots of wildlife and serenity despite being close to a road. Put-In at Dimmick CG. Take-Out at the south side of the lagoon past the Hwy1 bridge, follow sand road on south side of the river (right off Hwy 1) to day-use parking. Can be run by a variety of craft that can negotiate tight turns including sea kayaks. Sea kayaks or canoes may be advisable on this stretch due to up-river winds and flatwater the last few miles (inflatables not recommended). Hug the left bank to stay out of the wind most days. Leave time for a nice picnic at this beautiful beach (leave some warm clothes in the car at take-out, it will be about 25 degrees cooler there).

400   - Barely Runnable
600   - 800 Optimum
1200 - Upper Runnable - Advanced Novice to Intermediate
1200 - ?? Intermediate to Expert

Season - Late Winter to Spring. After a rain, watch the flows come down and plan accordingly with weather forecast in mind.

Due to annual floods, this river changes frequently. Local knowledge will probably not be too much help. New slides, strainers, sweepers, etc. can appear overnight. Always scout blind bends and anything you can't see from the boat.

Camping: Hendy Woods SP, Dimmick Memorial Grove SP, and Navarro Beach (usually way too windy for camping). No water or tables at Dimmick CG until after flood/float season (this CG can be underwater a few times a winter in wet years). Call for info on high water closures of Dimmick and Route 128. Great food, friendly folks, and entertaining stories at the Navarro Store a few minutes east of Dimmick CG. More possibilities farther east in Anderson Valley (brewery, winery, restaurants, B&B's, etc.)

More info at Bruce Thomas' excellent website BRT Kayaking -

While in the area, check out Rancheria Creek -

And/Or Big River, a lovely tidal out and back paddle up to 12 miles. Follow the tide in, have lunch, follow the tide out. Tide chart and very cool rental boats at - Outriggers, sea kayaks, and canoes for rent.

Harry Dundore,  August 2012

Navarro River - Boating Recreation Survey.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey before Sept 15, 2012.

The Anderson Valley Land Trust in cooperation with the National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance Program is evaluating the Navarro River as a potential non-motorized boating water trail. This survey about boating on the Navarro will assist in that evaluation. The Navarro River is located in southern Mendocino County about 2 hours north of San Francisco. The primary focus of the study is between Hendy Woods State Park in the Anderson Valley downstream to Navarro Beach in the Navarro River Redwoods State Park .

Other Information Sources:
BRT Insights - Navarro River
CACreeks - Navarro River
Anderson Valley Land Trust
Hendy Woods State Park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-08-08 17:32:18


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
12.0Dimmick CampgroundN/AAccess
20.0Navarro BeachN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Dimmick Campground (Class N/A, Mile 12.0)

This is a good put in for the lower 8 miles to the ocean.  This is also the confluence of the NF Navarro River. 

Navarro Beach (Class N/A, Mile 20.0)

Navarro Take Out at Beach

Navarro Take Out at Beach
Photo by Harry Dundore taken 03/28/09 @ 450 cfs

Paddle under the Highway 1 bridge and on out into the Navarro Lagoon.  The beach is almost a mile past the bridge at the mouth of the river.  At moderate flows a large sand bar will usually separate the river from the ocean.  When you see the parking area, take out on the beach and carry across the sand to the parking lot.

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