Klamath River Hotshot Rafting and Kayaking Trip
Klamath Hotshot Trip Summary
Spend 3 days running the best whitewater the Lower Klamath River of Northern California has to offer. Class III and IV rapids like pre Ike, Ike Falls, lunch box, and Big Ike will get your adrenaline pumping and have you sailing over large roller coaster waves! This trip is so popular we do a special guides and friends trip here every year just because the guides love it so much.
If you have paddled the Rogue River or the Salmon River with us, the Klamath River hotshot is the next notch in your paddling belt. These trips are camping in a beautiful Forest Service campground, although we are certainly not roughing it. Dutch oven desserts accompany nights relaxing around the campfire as the group laughs and relives the stories of the day.
This trip is offered in Orange Torpedos and paddle rafts. We strongly recommend reserving this trip in late May or June when the water is at the best flows. We also recommend that if you want to paddle an Orange Torpedo inflatable kayak that you are either up for an adventure or that you have been with us on another multi-day trip where you paddled an inflatable kayak. We also recommend the Klamath River hotshot rafting trip for people 15 years old and up only.
What our guests have to say...
Klamath Hotshot Trip
Reviewed by Trevor on May 26, 2014
“It was all wonderful”
Hi Erik: We just returned from the hotshot Deschutes trip on the Klamath. We had a great time. The guides, the food, the beer, it was all wonderful. My buddy Ken and I had done the same trip 29 years ago when we were in high school so it was fun to go back with friends.
Klamath Hotshot Trip Itinerary
Trip Logistics Overview
The Klamath Hotshot is a unique trip as it’s a car based trip. We meet at the Happy Camp ranger station and put-on the river less than a mile from town. After rafting and kayaking the full day on the Klamath we load into vans and head to our favorite campground, Dillon Creek. Dillon Creek will be our home base for the remainder of the trip. It’s nice setting up one camp and basing out of it for the remainder. After the final day of boating we return everyone to their vehicles in Happy Camp, typically in the early afternoon.
Detailed Itinerary for the Klamath Hotshot 3-day Trip
Day 1: Meet us at the Happy Camp CA. Ranger Station at 9:30 AM. When meeting we will transfer your luggage for the trip into our van and head the two minutes down to the Indian Creek put-in.
At the put-in you will receive a thorough orientation for whatever river craft you choose to travel in. After everyone is geared up and ready to go we start our down river journey. Today will include numerous big and exciting class III rapids including rattlesnake, trench, independence, dragon’s tooth, ukanom, and numerous others. If you like great whitewater, beautiful scenery, and lots of river miles, this is your trip. Today we will cover over 20 river miles before finding our takeout.
From the takeout we load into the vans and drive a short five minutes to the campground for an evening of great food, refreshments, sitting around the fire, and probably a few games of cards. It’s important to get a good nights sleep because the white water of day two will require all of your attention.
Day 2: Rise in the morning for a filling breakfast as the day starts to warm up. After sitting around the fire we load into the vans and drive 20 minutes to our put-in on the Cal-Salmon River. Our first two miles will be in this crystal clear gorge running numerous class II and III rapids before we arrive at the exciting confluence with the Klamath River.
When we hit the Klamath and navigate the surprisingly fun confluence rapid the real adventure will quickly arrive. Just around the corner we arrive at our first big class III of the day, Pre-Ike. The challenge level here varies with river flow, but the excitement level is always high. A couple hundred yards downstream the river drops away over a thrilling horizon line letting us know we have arrived at IKE Falls. The group will pull over and scout this wild ride allowing anyone who wants to walk around.
After gathering below Ike Falls we will pull over for lunch above the next rapid, lunch box. Lunch box, another fun class III leads into Big Ike which is known for its plethora of big waves and being the longest rapid of the trip. After Big Ike and some other fun rapids the day concludes with one last big wave before arriving at the vans and back to camp for another night around the fire.
Day 3: is typically a repeat of either day one or day two depending on what the group is up for, most groups want another chance at day two.
Travel Information for the Klamath Hotshot
Where to Meet Orange Torpedo Trips
We meet at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Happy Camp California. We meet in the parking lot at 9:30 AM. Your vehicle will be left here parked next to the forest service employee barracks.
We recommend staying the night before in Yreka California and then drive into Happy Camp in the morning. While staying in Yreka leaves you with a 1.5 hour drive in the morning it has many more lodging opportunities than Happy Camp. In Yreka we recommend
- Miners Inn/Best Western Yreka California 530-842-4355
If you want to camp in the Happy Camp area the night before or after your trip there are several campgrounds in the Kalmath River corridor. The one we prefere and the one closest to the meeting place in the morning is Curly Jack Campground
Fly into either Medford Oregon or Redding California. Flying into Sacramento California puts you about 2 hours further away but it’s often significantly cheaper.
Southern Oregon and Northern California are known for great summer weather. The Klamath River is especially known for hot weather making swimming ideal. While rain does occasionally sneak in during the summer months it is rare and usually only stays for a short time. Averages are:
- May · High (F)76 Low (F)41 Avg. Rainfall 1.55 in.
- June · High (F)84 Low (F)47 Avg. Rainfall .66 in.
- July · High (F)92 Low (F)51 Avg. Rainfall .31 in.
- August · High (F)92 Low (F)51 Avg. Rainfall .54 in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of boats do you use?
As on most of our trips we offer a variety of river craft to choose from. Orange Torpedo Trips is best known for inflatable kayaking with 80% of our customers choosing this as the way to go down the river, but on this trip we offer 3 types of river craft on this trip. Watch the video to learn more about our 3-boats.
Learn to paddle your own inflatable kayak (Torpedo). We have guides in Torpedo’s teaching you how to paddle and leading you through the rapids in a 4 to 1 ratio. If you happen to fall out the guides have you out of the river in seconds. 45+ years of doing it on the Rogue River and tens of thousands of satisfied returning customers prove that it is extremely fun.
A more traditional type of rafting, paddle rafts are a great way to go if you still want to do some work, but think the torpedo is just a little to much. Work with a team of your friends paddling the big boat through the rapids as the guide sits in the back to help navigate.
Hop on an oared raft and ride in luxury. This is the relaxed way to travel. If taking in the scenery and letting the guide do the work is how you vacation then hop on board. This is how kids 4-11 years old will usually travel.
Q: What is an Orange Torpedo?
An Orange Torpedo is our custom-designed inflatable kayak. We have brought our 45 years of guided inflatable kayaking experience into our partnership with world renown raft builder SOTAR to introduce an industry leading high performance, beginner friendly inflatable kayak which we exclusively use.
Q: Can I switch boats during the trip?
Yes, but with some limitation. If you start in an inflatable kayak and decide quickly that it’s not for you. We will get you out of the kayak. If you start in a raft and decide you want to kayak, we cannot always guarantee that ability. Based on what people tell us they want to do we pack a specific amount of equipment and bring an appropriate number of guides for a trip. Sometimes that does not leave much room to add kayakers mid-trip. People will often be willing to switch out throughout the trip, but if someone signs up to tackle the river in an inflatable kayak, we want to make sure they have chance to paddle the entire trip if they want.
Q: Gratuity, is it common to give tips and how much?
Gratuity is certainly appreciated but by no means required. At the conclusion of a trip please just give any gratuity to the head guide who will divide it evenly among the crew. Standard restaurant gratuity percentages tend not apply on these trips, so what we have seen over the years on the Klamath River Hotshot is an average of approx: $50-$70 per person in a group. So a group of four would be about $200-$280. That is what we typically see on this trip as an average, please don’t feel obligated.
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
On single day trips your $10 per person deposit is refundable up to 72 hours before your trip. Cancellations within 72 hours of the scheduled trip launch will be subject to loss of their deposit.
On all of our multi day rafting trips we do not offer refunds on deposits or balance payments. We strongly encourage all customers to purchase travel insurance through travel guard to help protect your travel investment against the things that come up in life. It’s a small additional price for the comfort to know that if something comes up (illness, work change, etc) you will have the ability to recover your significant travel investment. Get a Travel Guard Quote Here.
Q: How much is the deposit and when is the balance for my trip due?
For the Klamath River 3-day Wild and Scenic Trip the deposit is $250 per person. For the 2-day trip the deposit is $150. For the Klamath River Hotshot rafting trip the deposit is $250 per person.The remaining balance is due 30 days before the trip launches. Upon making your reservation you have the option to set up your credit card to automatically run the balance on the due date.
Q: How many years have we been running the rivers?
Orange Torpedo Trips was founded on the Rogue River in 1969 by rafting visionary, Jerry Bentley. Within just a few years OTT had spread to numerous rivers throughout the Northwest including the Klamath River, the Main Salmon River and Snake Rivers.
Q: What age is considered “Youth”?
Youth is 17 and under.
Q: What is our average tour guide tenure?
We are proud to have one of the highest head guide tenure’s in the industry. The majority of our multi-day trip guides are teachers in the off-season. This off river profession makes them naturally great guides with a desire to teach our customers about the rivers, but it also makes them stable year to year guides. The average tenure, with our company, of our head guides is 29 years.
Klamath Hotshot Trip Rates/Dates
2017 Klamath Hotshot 3-day Trips
- Friday Starts - Adult $649
Trip Start Dates:
- May - 12, 19, 26
- June - 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Klamath Hotshot Trip Packing List
This trip does not require a dry bag because we will be operating both nights out of our base camp in a campground. With this in mind just pack in some kind of bag that can easily be moved from your vehicle to ours. Please be conscious of space when packing, while we don’t have the same space limitations we have when needing to fit everything on our rafts, we do have limitations on how much gear we can fit into the vehicles.
What to pack
On the River
- 2 or 3 swimsuits or shorts and top (cotton not recommended)
- Sports sandals or hard-soled wetsuit booties
- Synthetic paddling gloves (not required but if kayaking can be a good idea)
- Wide rimmed hat or ball cap (ball cap fits well under helmet)
- Polypro, synthetic or hydro-skin shirt (nice for mornings and chilly days)
- Water Bottle (1 liter) with carabiner
- Waterproof sunscreen
- Sunglasses with strap (consider bringing two pairs)
- OTT will supply wetsuits and splash-tops
- 2 pair pants & shorts
- 2 shirts
- Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
- Light rain jacket
- Sleeping bag (synthetic material recommended - rated to 45F)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera with extra film or memory cards and batteries
- Personal hygiene items