Goodwin Canyon is the closest Class IV+ whitewater rafting river to the San Francisco Bay Area. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada just east of Oakdale, Goodwin Canyon offers 4 miles of fun whitewater rafting in a narrow, and very unusual volcanic gorge. The run is short and the rapids that are there are not extremely numerous but very enjoyable. The day consists of Class III rapids alternating between swift calms, interrupted by two Class IV+'s that are both powerful and exciting (even intimidating). Each fall in October, water is released from Tullock Lake for a few weeks, to signal Salmon to start heading upstream from the ocean to spawn in the later part of the year.
Considering some of the names of the rapids on the Goodwin Canyon, you may think the river flows straight out of Disneyland! The rapids are enjoyable and fun, something Walt might consider a good addition to the Magic Kingdom. There are a couple (Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Haunted House), that are challenging, unpredictable, and provide an awesome adrenaline rush! There is no cable or tract under our raft guiding us along... just current and wild water!
Goodwin Canyon sits at a low elevation of just 350 feet in the Sierra foothills about 20 minutes east of the small town of Oakdale and minutes from the historic, quaint town of Knights Ferry. The river runs through a beautiful, steep and narrow volcanic gorge, full of lush willows and tall cottonwoods native to California. High rocky bluffs tower hundreds of feet above the river as reminders of the past when Native Americans and cowboys lived in the area. Waterfalls created from irrigation canals above the river frequently cascade into the river creating a lush setting reminiscent of tropical islands. We raft under a covered bridge at the end of the trip which is the longest of its kind west of the Mississippi. Goodwin Canyon is one of the most diverse and interesting canyons in California and rafting is one of the only ways you can experience it. Since there aren't any other outfitters offering regular trips on this river, your group will most likely be the only one on the water. This exclusivity means Goodwin Canyon trips offer nearly private access to a remarkable and isolated canyon.
Goodwin Canyon is the closest whitewater to the Bay Area. It is located just 75 miles east of Dublin, near the small, quaint town of Knights Ferry off Highway 120. You could leave the comforts of your home and be at the river an hour and a half later... that's convenient rafting!
Whitewater rafting in Goodwin Canyon is controlled by an upstream reservoir. During normal years water is released from upstream reservoirs for two weeks in September or October for the sake of the salmon fishery that thrives in the canyon. There is usually a window of raftable water releases during the spring snowmelt as well, however we don’t always raft this river in spring time. In years of heavy snowpack more water is released for the salmon and flows are consistent from April to October, 7 days a week.
* Season length and flows may vary. For this year's flow predictions and real-time water levels go to the River Flows page.
On our 1-Day trips our lunch begins with tortilla chips, salsa, and fresh summer fruits. Our gourmet "build-your-own" sandwich bar includes all the fixings needed to assemble the perfect sandwich to your preference. We also provide a beverage, and cookies to finish it off. Our Goodwin Canyon Double Days itinerary features a BBQ hot sandwich with side salads.
All-Outdoors runs paddle raft trips on Goodwin Canyon. In a paddle raft, each guest and a professional guide have a paddle and navigate the river, working as a coordinated team. All guests should be able to swim.
One of our specialties is creating fun and memorable whitewater rafting trips for small to large groups. Our permit on Goodwin Canyon allows us to accommodate almost any size group any day of the week.
What Type of Group Trip are You Looking For?
- I'm planning a trip for my friends and myself.
- I'm planning a family rafting trip.
- I'm planning an offsite corporate outings!
- I'm planning a bachelor party!
- I'm looking for bachelorette party ideas!
- I'm organizing a family reunion!
- I'm putting together a birthday party trip!
- I'm organizing and planning a class reunion!
Our reservation specialists can help you through every step of the planning process. To learn more about our group-specific discount plans & packages, visit our Group Rafting Trips page.
To learn more about our Goodwin Canyon rafting trips, explore our 1-Day trip option and our Goodwin Canyon Double Days Special Event. If you want to start booking your trip now, you can call our office at (800) 247-2387 during business hours or check for available space online.