Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get sick if I go kayaking in the LA River?
While there are elevated bacteria levels in certain portions of the river, there is no guarantee that river recreators will get sick. Our Paddle the LA River partners LA Sanitation and Heal the Bay will be testing the health of the river throughout the Paddle the LA River season, but to minimize your risk, we recommend the following precautions:
- Avoid contact with the river if you have a compromised immune system or have open wounds
- Avoid getting river water in your mouth
- Use hand sanitizer and/or rinse with soap and water following your trip (all of which are available at our paddle check-out station)
For additional information, please visit the County of Los Angeles Public Health website. To evaluate your risk, please visit:
How did this year’s rains affect the LA River?
The river ecosystem was not affected much compared to previous years because of the channelization. However, because water levels rose dramatically during the rains, we have noticed a great deal of litter in the river vegetation. Many Willow trees were felled, and smaller vegetation was washed away. Now that the waters have subsided, we are noticing a mix of native and non-native flora starting to sprout rapidly in the area.
How long will the program run?
Season begins on Saturday, June 3 and ends on Saturday, September 16, 2017
Why can’t I paddle on Fridays?
Fridays are reserved for schools and youth programs.
Where will the program take place?
The program will be offered at the Sepulveda Recreation Basin in the San Fernando Valley segment of the LA River. This is a popular recreational center easily accessible by public transit, car and bicycle. As parking locations have changed for the 2017 season, please look for directional signage along Burbank Blvd.
What times are paddle trips or rentals offered?
This year, trips will be offered at the following times:
- 9-10am (please arrive by 8:30am)
- 10:15-11:15am (please arrive by 9:45am)
- 1-2pm (please arrive by 12:30pm)
Where is the check-in site this year?
Paddlers will meet and check-in at the launch site this year. Please look for directional signage, but the approximate check-in location is:
How much does it cost?
Rental fees are $30 per person for a one-hour trip. This covers the cost of your kayak, safety equipment, administration, equipment transport and insurance. Should you exceed the one-hour time slot, a $30 fee will be assessed up to 60 minutes. Beyond 60 minutes, another $30 fee will be added. For groups, the costs is $50 per person for a 1.5 hour trip. This covers labor, as well as the cost of your kayak, safety equipment, administration, equipment transport and insurance. All sales are final.
How do I book a guided kayak tour?
To ensure guided tours don’t conflict with booked kayak rentals, we will personally assist you with booking a guided kayak tour for your group. Please email us with your group size (must be a minimum of six (6) people), ideal dates and times, and we will work with you to book your tour. Click here to send us an email!
How can I rent a kayak?
Click here to book your kayak rental. Again, all tickets are non-refundable and may not be exchanged for other dates.
How many spaces are available?
Fourteen (14) slots are available for each trip. For guided tours, you must have a minimum group size of six (6) people.
How long is the tour?
Kayak rentals are available for one hour (60 minutes). Group tours run about 1.5 hours.
When do I check in?
Please arrive at the check-in site 30 minutes prior to the start of your trip. This will allow time for check-in protocols, suiting up, getting your equipment, as well as safety and training orientations. Make sure to give yourself enough time for parking and walking to the check-in site. Please make sure to read the insurance and liability waiver ahead of time and that you understand the risks involved in this activity. You must bring a signed copy to the check-in.
Once I have a reservation, what should I bring?
Please bring your own reusable water container (water will be provided to fill your reusable container), waterproof bags to protect your cellphone or camera, a change of clothes or something to protect your car seats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
All tickets are non-refundable. Please make sure you pick a day that works for you.
If we cancel your trip due to weather conditions, we might be able to fit you in on a future trip, this however, is not guaranteed. If we are unable to reschedule you from a cancellation due to weather conditions we will refund your ticket purchase value.
Will I get wet?
Yes, to board the kayaks, you will be expected to walk directly in the water so please wear close-toed shoes or water shoes that have a good rubber grip that you don't mind getting soaked. While kayaking, there is always the possibility of getting splashed/wet as well.
We recommend that you:
- Wear sunscreen.
- Bring a reusable water container, we will have water available onsite to refill your bottles.
- If you want to bring sunglasses, make sure they are the type that you do not mind losing.
- Wear close-toed sandals/shoes or water shoes/sandals that have a good rubber grip. No flip-flops please. Your shoes will get wet!
- Bring extra clothing to change into after the tour or bring large plastic bag or a towel to place over your car seat, as you will get wet.
Also, please leave all valuables at home. Your fingers will wrinkle with constant water contact and wedding rings could potentially come loose and fall in the water and earrings will get in the way of your safety helmet. For keys or other absolutely necessary items, bring your own waterproof bag or container. The guides, the LA Conservation Corps, and the Paddle The LA River program are not responsible for any lost items, which include items that fall into the river, or items left in your car.
Can I bring children or pets?
The Corps’ insurance limits the minimum age to 10 years and over. Participants under 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Pets are not allowed.
Is there a weight limit for the kayaks?
Yes, the weight limit is 250 lbs.
Who are the partners in this program?
What kind of safety measures have you taken for this program?
Our river guides have received State Fire Marshal River and Flood Rescue training. All kayak program leaders are qualified on this class of water. They are also certified in American Heart Association basic first aid and CPR. In addition, the guides have worked with other agencies on specific flood management protocols.
Are there additional precautions?
Kayaking can be a strenuous water activity that will require some effort on your part, as you will be asked to help haul your kayak -- but please do not do anything that is beyond your capability -- and keep close to the group. Please be aware that you will get wet and there is a chance that your kayak could tip and that you could fall into the water.
What if it rains on the day of my scheduled trip?
Trips will be suspended for a minimum of 72 hours in the event of rain or if the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a flash flood or thunderstorm warning or watch. In the event that we are unable to accommodate you on another trip we will issue you a refund for your tickets. Please contact us or check the Facebook page the night before your tour date for any cancellation notices.
How can I support this program and the Los Angeles River?
You can participate by clicking here to donate to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Your contribution will support ongoing efforts of our young people to beautify the Los Angeles River habitat and its surrounding communities.
Where can I learn more about the Los Angeles River?
There's a lot of great information about the LA River, but here are our top recommendations: