Of the three forks that feed Lake Oroville, the Middle Fork of the Feather River is the only one undammed, so it remains wild and scenic. The river gradient varies from gentle at the upper end to very steep in the deep canyons of the lower reaches. The adjacent lands range from the most primitive imaginable to manicured golf courses and residential area. In the wild sections, huge boulders, cliffs and waterfalls are a part of the natural beauty of the area, but can make navigating the river and hiking difficult.
For kayakers and rafters up for one of the most challenging sections of whitewater anywhere, the Middle Fork of the Feather River serves up 32 miles of Class V rapids in a remote, pristine canyon. The river was designated as one of the original eight wild and scenic rivers by Congress, and is known throughout the West as one of the premiere whitewater descents in the state. Experienced whitewater kayakers take 3 to 4 days for the self-supported trip.
Those looking for fishing spots will enjoy access to both warm- and cold-water fish. The Middle Fork is full of riffles, runs, and holes that receive very little pressure throughout the season. The wild and stocked brown and rainbow trout are known to be hard-fighting fish, so come prepared for a fight.
The Middle Fork's History
The Middle Fork of the Feather River was one of eight “charter” rivers designated with the passage of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. Of the 77.6 miles of the Middle Fork of the Feather River designated as Wild & Scenic, 32.9 miles are wild (generally inaccessible except by trail), 9.7 miles are scenic (accessible in places by roads but largely undeveloped), and 35 miles are recreational (readily accessible by road/railroad with some development along the shore).