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The heat of summer is a good enough reason to get on the water. And what watersport gives you the most varied array of experiences? Kayaking! It gives you the opportunity to find the heart-pumping exhilaration of a roller coaster or the serenity & peace of getting lost in the moment. So, whether you’re a first timer or an advanced thrill seeker, kayaking in the High Sierra offers something for everyone.

Lake Tahoe Up Close & Personal

Learn more about Kayaking on Lake Tahoe

Kayaking in the High Sierra Lake Tahoe Sunset
Image appears courtesy: Go Tahoe North

Lake Tahoe was voted by USA Today readers as the best Lake in America. One of the best ways to experience it up close is gliding across its crystal clear waters in a kayak. It’ll give you a chance to discover hidden beaches and rocky coves, not to mention get a great core & upper-body workout. Don’t own a kayak? Not a problem. You can rent equipment from a slew of outfitters like Clearly Tahoe and Wild Society. If you’re looking for a one of a kind escapade, check out a full moon tour with the Tahoe Adventure Company. You’ll increase your knowledge of astronomy with jaw dropping views of Lake Tahoe illuminated by the light of the full moon. For more summer adventure ideas, be sure to check out the Tahoe North Summer Guide.

Wet & Wild Tuolumne River

Learn more about rafting/kayaking the Tuolumne River

Tuolumne Whitewater Rafting Kayaking in the High Sierra
Kayaking or Rafting the Tuolumne River will challenge all – Image appears courtesy: Visit Tuolumne County

Looking for more advanced river kayaking or some whitewater rafting? Then the Tuolumne River is where it’s at. Named the #1 rafting river by the San Francisco Chronicle, this is California’s premier wilderness whitewater. The “T”, as it’s lovingly called by locals, is a dam-controlled summer run featuring fun Class IV and IV+ rapids surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Beginning in Yosemite on the North Face of Mount Lyell, these waters flow through the Tuolumne Meadows as well as the Tuolumne Grand Canyon. Expect to be challenged and see amazing scenery. For more outdoor activities in the Tuolumne area, check out their guide as well.

Kayak Fishing on New Melones Lake

Learn more about New Melones Lake

New Melones Lake Kayaking in the High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Calaveras Tourism Bureau

Kayak fishing is still considered a “new” sport, but it’s growing in popularity due to the many advantages over shore or boat fishing. A good option to try it out is New Melones Lake. Being the fourth largest man-made lake in California, behind Oroville, Shasta and Trinity, it’s so huge, paddling enthusiasts will most likely have the lake to themselves. This is due to the configuration of the lake, its sheer size and its many fingers & arms. It ensures that skiers and anglers can share the water without crowding one another. And the best part? It’s home to a healthy population of kokanee salmon, rainbow & brown trout, smallmouth/largemouth, spotted and red eye bass with numerous amounts of crappie, bluegill and catfish as well. This isn’t the only amazing option in the area you also have Lake Alpine, Utica Reservoir , Union Reservoir, and Spicer Reservoir. Don’t own a kayak but want to try it? Sierra Nevada Adventure Company and Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company will make sure your setup and ready to go!

While there are always new fitness fads out there, why not try a classic – Kayaking! It’s one of those activities that puts you right in the center of nature and provides an excellent workout. We love paddling & think kayaking in the High Sierra is some of the best in the world.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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