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Upper Cache Creek
Bill Tuthill/www.cacreeks.com

Upper Cache Creek

Upper Cache Creek
Do-it-yourself river rafting on a friendly waterway

If you just want to get your feet wet—pun intended—but don’t want a white-knuckle adventure, sign up for a do-it-yourself float on Upper Cache Creek, about two hours northeast of San Francisco. Paddle your own rubber raft through the foamy-but-friendly rapids of Cache Canyon, then pat yourself on the back for being such a finely skilled captain.

Cache Creek, which flows out of Clear Lake in Lake County, offers fun but tame Class II rapids—plus a couple of keep-you-on-your-toes Class IIIs that offer brief thrills. That makes it mild enough for first-timers to have a blast commandeering their own boats. This trip is ideal for people who don’t want to share a raft with a bunch of strangers—typically the case on organised trips on other rivers. You can go it alone in a little two-seater inflatable raft, or invite your favourite first mate to climb aboard and grab a paddle too.

One- and two-day DIY trips start near the Central Valley town of Rumsey along State Highway 16. The season generally runs June through July. While you can just go cool off for a day, the two-day trip runs the full 20 miles of Cache Creek’s sheer volcanic canyon—a wonderfully scenic mini-adventure.

Two rafting companies, Cache Canyon River Trips and Whitewater Adventures, provide equipment, instruction, shuttles, meals, and camping gear and sites. Whitewater even shows free movies—with popcorn!—under the stars on Friday nights.

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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12
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory rich experiences, a chance to see and taste the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes. Just some of the ultra fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley. 

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and 'everyone’s welcome' charm. 

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Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
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Alex Farnum

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centrepiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

California's Heartland

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The Tehama Trail is a surprisingly fertile area—a prime place for farms and ranches. Many invite visitors to stop in and buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils, and other local food products.

The trail links together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and grass-fed beef ranchers and...

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Bakersfield is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, this Central Valley town is morphing into an arts, culture, and sports hub, while still offering a glimpse of the past. Visit Colonel Allensworth State Historic...

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Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

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Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboats without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for holidaying in a...

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California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

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Dale Goff Photography

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Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of...

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The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
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Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield has...

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Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is...