Carson City water trails weave through a colorful maze of high desert scenery, Comstock history, and elusive wildlife, with whitewater kayaking and rafting adventures for every skill level.
The 180-mile Carson River flows from the Sierra Nevada in California and through Carson City, eventually feeding into the Lahontan Reservoir. The Carson River Aquatic Trail is a 12.6-mile stretch of the Carson River that takes boaters through a scenic canyon and past historic relics of the Comstock mining era. Facilities include paved parking areas, restrooms, picnic tables and benches, and concrete launching ramps for put-in and take-out.
Ideal for beginner-level canoe, kayak, and small raft rides, the Upper River Class I-II offers a 3.3-mile, 1.5 hour float that starts at Carson River Park and ends at Morgan Mill Road River Access. Giant cottonwoods line the shores, and visitors often catch glimpses of the areas’ wild horses, bald eagles, turtles, hawks, owls, and other wildlife.
The Lower River trip from Morgan Mill to the take-out area at Santa Maria River Access Park in Dayton is an energetic 9.3 mile white water rafting and kayaking ride that takes about 2.5 hours to complete. The trip begins with a Class III rapid train wreck just one mile downstream, followed by several large Class II rapids that rush past old mill sites and historic stone walls crafted by Chinese laborers more than a century ago to shore up mountain mining roads.
The nearby East Fork of the Carson River runs from south of Markleeville, California through alpine forests and into Nevada’s expansive landscape, passing dramatic rock formations and natural hot springs along the way. Mostly Class II with a short Class III section, this 20-mile river trip is another popular whitewater rafting and kayaking destination for Carson City visitors.
For more information about booking your Carson City river trip, call us at 1-800-NEVADA-1.
Carson City Parks & Recreation
Carson River Aquatic Trail Map