If you have a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board, now is the time to launch at one of the great lakes in the high country.
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There’s quite a few choices. each coming with its own beauty and splendiforousness.
Here’s four that offer a great time on the water, in different ways.
Sly Park — The closest, it has a boat ramp at the front and a launch point in the back. It will cost you to get in, but the drive from most places around Placerville is relatively short.
Launching your kayak, canoe or SUP at the front boat ramp means you’ll be in the same place as the water skiers and other powered boats. If you don’t like the wakes that result from powered boats, go to the back and launch there.
If you’d like to get in the higher reaches of the county, head to the Crystal Basin. You have a few choices up there: Ice House, Union Valley, Gerle Creek, and Loon lakes.
Loon — My choice. It’s big, and has an extraordinary shoreline. You may want to launch at the boat ramp, which will cost you, or head over the dam to the other side, where there is a dirt ramp that is available.
Paddling about, you can explore what’s closest ortrek to the back end of the lake where inlets, coves, fantastic rocks, nooks and crannies abound. At around 2 or 3 p.m. the wind will probably kick up, and it can be a hard paddle getting back. Take your time, you’ll make it
Wrights Lake — A bit higher up and a stunner. No motors of any kind are allowed including electric trolling motors.
Wrights is shallow. There are great rocks to glide past or to look at as you glide over them. Head to the back of the lake, go under the Chappell Crossing bridge, and you’ll have a wonderful time in the canals back there. The entire lake is simply wonderful for kayaks, canoes and SUP’s.
Lake Tahoe — The big one and very different than the others mentioned here. Size and depth is just one.
In summer, there is a lot of traffic on the lake. There are very large, and very fast boats, stern wheelers chugging away, as well as an assortment of sailboats and smaller, still fast, boats. You’ll find that your kayak or canoe can get bounced around a bit when one of the bigs, seemingly far away, powers down the lake.
Launch at Pope or Baldwin Beaches, Camp Rich, or at Meeks Bay, Obexers, or Bliss State Park. There are other spots, but there’s not enough space here to list them.
Always wear a PFD, personal flotation device, when you are on any body of water with your kayak, canoe or SUP. Stay aware of what’s going on around you.
If things on the lake get too choppy, or the sky turns blue-black with the wind blowing, paddle quickly back to shore.
Get your paddles out and get outside!