I launched into the Napa River on a beautiful day from the John F. Kennedy Park just south of Napa, California off of Hwy 29/ Soscol Ave. The sun was a little too bright for my type of wetsuit (with long leg coverage and sleeveless) and I have since obtained a more suitable suit (short sleeve and short pants style). The trip upriver was made in a very easy manner going with the current and tide with no wind. I paddled parallel to the JFK Park on the right side and the homes with docks in their back yards on the left side of the river. I made my first shady stop under an overhanging oak tree at about 20 minutes. I spotted a large flock of geese with their families of young goslings on the west side of the river.
By 50 minutes I was approaching the Imola Avenue Bridge and photographed the busy swallows fortifying their mud nests from river bank clay. At a little over an hour, I was approaching the Third Street Bridge which demarks the beginning to downtown Napa where the river bends right and China Beach is formed on the North side of the bend. I stopped at the China Beach shady area and had a nice lunch break with the gathering ducks and geese.
By 1:08PM, I was back in the water and heading down river. Well, the wind had picked up considerably and the current was now against me. This combination made for a much more strenuous workout going back. Sometimes kayak and I were making zero or negative way against the current and wind. We added about 30 minutes on to our return trip. But it was great fun! I recommend this trip for any beginning or experienced kayaker. You see a lot of interesting sites and you are sure to get a good bit of exercise one way or the other.
A restroom is available with ample parking and full launch facilities.
Coming north from Vallejo take the Soscol Ave. turnoff to the right from Hwy 29. Proceed about 3 to 5 miles and turn left at the entrance to JFK Park and golf course. Follow the park road to the very end where you will find a spacious parking lot and the boat launching facility.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)