This trip is not for the faint-of-heart. You'll be physically challenged, but rewarded with paddling a gorgeous emerald waterway that few people have ever seen.

Kayaking the Upper Chetco Gorge

Kayaking the Upper Chetco Gorge

The Chetco River is nestled between the better known Smith and Illinois Rivers, both renowned for their stunning clear water and epic whitewater. To reach the remote location, we'll traverse the Kalmiopsis Wilderness by foot and then paddle down the river by inflatable kayak. We'll travel light and pack in only necessary supplies.

Looking down on the Little Chetco near Bailey Mountain

Looking down on the Little Chetco near Bailey Mountain

When we reach the river, it will be time to pump up and rig the boats. We'll help prep you for the river with an inflatable kayaking 101 course. We'll camp at put-in that night. After a simple breakfast, you'll jump in your kayak for inflatable kayaking 201 as you head down the gorgeous Chetco River.

Kayaking in the Magic Canyon of the Chetco River

Kayaking in the Magic Canyon of the Chetco River

The upper gorge of the Chetco is beautiful beyond belief. Its tight, intimate canyon is one that should be savored so you'll want to take your time traveling down the Class IV rapids. We'll stop to scout all the big rapids and will portage a few of the bigger ones.

The Last Rapids before Tin Cup Creek

The Last Rapids before Tin Cup Creek

The next couple of days, we'll just enjoy this stunning wilderness. There are many places to stop, swim the crystal-clear pools and take a few side hikes up the small creeks that feed the Chetco.

On day 5, we'll cross the wilderness boundary, where the river opens up on the approach to Tolman Ranch where our trip will end.

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