Best River


  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • The Trinity River

Warm sun, and a tumbling, splashing, frothing, eddying river, with muddy-toe beaches perfect for dawdling and green-white rapids perfect for rafting or kayaking.

By a big, big margin, Humboldt's very favorite river is the Trinity.

Not that it's the only river in our hearts.

"The Mad has great swimming and it provides us with drinking water. It's a hard working river," one loyal fan wrote.

"I like all rivers in Humboldt County equally and resent that you would try to make me pick one," someone snipped.

"Aren't they all just called 'The River?' They have actual names?" wrote another, perhaps in denial of some secret hidden lust for the Trinity.

It's not entirely a Humboldt river, really, coming up from the east and south out of Trinity County, where some of its best rapids churn. But it's all ours after Williow Creek, swinging north through Hoopa before joining up with the Klamath.

All along the way, the Trinity is our escape from the fog, our place in the sun, our almost biblically beloved river that comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills, saying to us, rise up and come away, for the winter is past.

And like all passionate loves, the Trinity has its perils, with swift cold water and wading spots that drop off suddenly into drowning-deep holes.

The best river, "but also the scariest," one devotee wrote. No surprise that more people have drowned in the Trinity in recent years than in any other inland waterway in Humboldt.

People who know it best approach the Trinity as they would any capricious lover, warily, alert to changing moods, keeping an eye out for dangers as well as delights. So should you.

But once you are properly protected, go, and consummate your love with the Trinity!

Just practice safe splash.

The Breakdown: Trinity 38.6%, Mad 19.5%, Eel 11.2%, Van Duzen 5.9%, Mattole 3.1. Category popularity: 15th.


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