My wife and I were in the area on business and I had always wanted to paddle down the Russian River. We didn't bring our kayaks since we live in Southern CA, so planned to rent a double kayak for the day. I had checked out a couple places, but a friend of ours had recently used Burke's and had a great experience. They didn't have double kayaks (only a few singles), but the cost was less than the other places so we decided to go with Burke's.
We arrived around 11 AM on a Thursday in mid-September. We parked in the dirt lot under the redwoods. Only three other cars were in the lot! We checked in at an open shack nearby. The gentleman there gave us a 5 minute briefing/orientation on the does & don'ts and pointed us directed us down the hill to the canoes lined up on the river's edge. The fee included canoe, paddles, life vests and a cooler (limited availability). The only life jackets they had were the big, old orange life jackets. We had brought our own kayaking PFDs so we didn't use theirs.
We borrowed an ice chest and bought a bag of ice to keep our picnic lunch and drinks cool.
We walked down the short road from the bluff to the river's edge. About one hundred aluminum canoes were lined up there just a few feet from the river. We dragged one into the water, loaded our gear and headed downstream. The river here was only about 30 feet across and about 2 feet deep. The placid river seemed to be barely moving.
It was a perfect day! Sunny, but not hot or cold! Only about four canoes were on the river that day, so we didn't have to deal with any large rowdy groups. The river route was away from any nearby roads. The few cabins were mostly unseen on the bluffs above the rivers. There were several bends in the river with sand bars that allowed for easy landings. We passed by one river lodge, but at this time of during the weekend it was closed and vacant. It was quiet all along the river and we were able to see and approach closely to ducks, cormorants, herons, turkey vultures and few few song birds. The trees were just starting to turn their autumn colors.
We had a leisurely paddle until the very end when we had some afternoon breezes from the ocean blowing up river that we had to paddle against.
At the take-out beach we boarded an old school bus that was our shuttle back to our starting point. It was a great day and we would highly recommend it!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.