Lake Lodi/Mokelumne River   Leave a comment

Date: July 25th, 2010

Distance: 3.16 miles

Time: 4 hours

Difficulty (1-5): 2
The water is mild and pleasant, however there was some underwater debris we had to look out for. Nothing that would hurt me, but maybe a hazard for inflatables (I have one, though wasn’t in it this trip). There also are some low hanging branches and shrubbery. It was my dad’s first time kayaking and he got a tree in the face twice, but he was a trooper.

Scenery (1-5): 3
The scenery on the river is beautiful, but occasionally you do here the freeway and have to pass the backs of private homes.

Parking and Launching
There was a 4 dollar park fee (less for Lodi residents). We got there early so we were able to park in the lot right at the entrance, and there is a great little dock for launching a kayak down a small grassy slope from there.

Route
Head across the river, through the brush (there is about a ten foot gap), then left up the river. After passing a flag pole and small park on the left, turn to the right (going straight leads to a dam). Head to the east up the Mokelumne River, then simply retrace steps back. The river splits often but these are generally two paths around an island and will lead to the same place after a short distance.

Right Brain

When I went kayaking in the Mokelumne River, it was a beautiful, clear day. I was visiting some one in the Stockton area, and it was in the 90’s there. It was beautiful, but it felt like an oven, and I can’t handle the heat very well. We got to Lodi Lake around 8:30 and rowed until 12:30, and the temperature was pleasant in the sun the entire trip.

The lake itself was overrun that day with some sort of community gathering, and we were told that the road to the boat launch was blocked off because of it. However, there is a perfect launching dock for small boats (kayaks, canoes, etc.) about 10 feet down the bank from the very first parking lot at the entrance, and that was the one we used and it was fine. I imagine you’d have to get there early though because at 8:30 the parking lot was already filling up.

There were many geese and ducks in the lake itself, and geese scare the buhjesus out of me, so I steered clear of them. It’s okay though, because the real kayaking is not in the lake itself, but begins in the outcrop that leads to the Mokelumne River, across from the main entrance.

There is a small opening through the reeds that leads to the beginnings of hitting the river. Almost immediately it feels like you’re not in Lodi anymore, let alone at a crowded park full of kids doing three-legged races. The sound dies way down and we could hear many birds, and passed only two other pairs of kayakers, who were both very friendly.

Be aware that outside of the lake, however, larger boats are permitted. We ran into several. Most were polite, but one just moved over enough to not kill us, without reducing his speed. This wasn’t such a problem for me but it was my dad’s first time kayaking so it made him nervous.

The scenery here is beautiful, and it was hard to remember we only had to drive 30 minutes from the house in Stockton to get here. I particularly like the many shallow alcoves where we could go and explore or just sit in only a foot of water. The water was surprisingly clear.

All in all a very nice trip.

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