This beginner level, round trip journey starts and ends in the heart of downtown Napa. Encompassing approximately 55 miles, the Napa River was once the third busiest commercial river in California. It is now a defining natural feature of the City and home to one of the most biologically diverse regions in the San Francisco Bay Area. A single deep channel runs directly through the heart of downtown Napa, offering a quiet, scenic setting, with seasonally warmer weather than you will find anywhere else on the water this close to San Francisco.
Our guided Downtown Oxbow Tour is the best way to explore the Napa River Valley, providing a unique insight into the waterway and wildlife. All of our tours are led by professional guides with extensive knowledge of the ecology, wildlife, and history of the Napa River and will reveal a side of Napa that few know. Learn about its pioneering history capped by world renown restoration and flood protection measures that are now a model for the world. Along the way, you may spot river otters, turtles and a variety of native and migratory birds that inhabit this protected region where the salt and freshwater meet! The Napa River has come a long way over the last century, come experience why it is now a defining feature of the Napa River Valley. You will leave town with an unforgettable experience of Napa’s wine country.
This booking guarantees you a spot in a kayak. Depending on the tour size, we can only accommodate single kayaks if available, otherwise participants are put into a tandem kayak. Please call us directly to make other arrangements.
Small-group kayak tour from downtown Napa
Water safety equipment and professional paddle instruction
Single and tandem sit on top kayaks for their roominess and stability. Also available on a SUP.
Eco-tour through the Oxbow Nature Preserve into the northern reach of the Napa River
Unique ecology and river history with discussion on wildlife and habitat
Scenic downtown, marsh and forest views from the water
No kayaking or paddling experience necessary
Perfect for all experience levels and beginners welcome
What you can expect
Explore the waterways and discover wildlife on our small-group kayak tour
Identify native and migratory birds and other wildlife in their river habitat
Learn about the Native Wapo Indians and why settling on the Napa River was paramount to their survival.
Learn the ‘three waves’ of economic development introduced by Western civilization over the last century
Learn about the world renown Living River flood protection & restoration project ushering the return of salmon and steelhead
Kayaking is a great opportunity to get in-tune with nature and relieve the stress of daily living. Our crew is friendly and able to work with any level of experience and all age groups, and you can feel safe knowing they’re First Aid, CPR and AED certified.
Your adventure begins at the scheduled launch time at the launch location provided in your confirmation. Most of our launch locations do not have changing facilities, so come prepared to get into the water, leaving behind anything you care about losing on the water. After checking in with our guide, you will be fitted for a life-preserver, given a paddle and fit for your kayak. Most of our fleet consists of sit-on-top tandem kayaks that are stable and well suited for beginners. They also have compartments and bungee straps for locking down your water bottles and belongings. From there, your adventure begins on water. You can expect to spend 2 hours on the water exploring the northern reach of the San Pablo Bay with our knowledgeable guide at your side.
Single or Tandem Kayak or SUP, paddle, life jacket, paddle lesson with certified instructor, water safety and expert river advice.
Group 2 - 16 people
Distance and duration:
3.5 miles round trip, 1.5 | 2 hours
Main Street Dock @ Riverfront Plaza or 100 Riverside Drive
Anytime morning to mid-day. Dependent on wind, tide and weather.
Downtown Oxbow Trip Gallery
Other Recommended Trips
Living River - Napa
Distance and duration: 4.2 miles one way 1.5 to 2 Hours
Stay active while on vacation in Napa’s famous wine country with a stand up paddle or kayak trip on the Napa River. Encompassing approximately 55 miles, the Napa River