Paddling on the Cosumnes River

The Cosumnes River is a beautiful, natural waterway and the central focus for the Preserve. It is the last free-flowing river from the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Central Valley. Paddlers can enjoy a scenic glide through the river’s sloughs and main channel, cruising along riparian forest, oak woodland and through wetlands teeming with wildlife. This 80-mile river can be accessed from the Preserve’s boat launch, southwest of the Visitor Center. Park in upper parking lot to access boat launch trail.

Bring your gear and explore on your own!


Parking and accessing is FREE. The upper parking lot near the Visitor Center provides a path to the boat launch. You’ll need to walk about 200 yards from the parking lot to the boat launch. We recommend bringing a canoe cart/wheels to transport your kayak or canoe.

Motorized boats are not allowed to be launched from this area.

 The river has relatively flat water, allowing for excellent boating opportunities throughout the spring, summer and fall months. However, PLEASE TAKE CAUTION AFTER RAIN STORMS. The river can become very fast-flowing with high currents during and the following days after a storm. Because it is tidally influenced, we recommend checking out tide and flow charts here.


Join us on a guided paddle!

New to the Cosumnes River or just wanting to take a leisurely paddle while learning about the history of Preserve? Our experienced docents will guide you on a tour through Preserve sloughs and along the Cosumnes River, teaching you about the flora, fauna, and history of the landscape. You are required to bring your own boat, paddles, and PFD. See upcoming guided paddling dates by clicking Events in the menu.