Enjoying the Salinas River at public access points is both safe and fun, but certain activities carry more risk than others. Make sure to also be aware of your rights and responsibilities involving tresspassing.

Whatever your activity, make sure to follow paddle-wise principles.

River mouth breach

During flood events and high water, the county will sometimes breach the Salinas River mouth, allowing the river to flow to the ocean. Taking the river all the way to the ocean is extremely dangerous, ending with large standing waves and a strong current. Do not attempt to take the river to the ocean.

Water quality

The Salinas can contain agricultural runoff that is difficult to completely filter with a standard backpacking filter. The water is also very silty. Bring enough drinking water for your entire trip.


Several sections of the river are surrounded by ranch land. Cows can graze the banks and the main channel of the river. If your dog would chase a cow, make sure to keep it under your control.


The most common form of danger on the river is low trees and brush that are found along the banks. Make sure you know how to safely prevent or exit a strainer situation.