How to navigate the Napa + 4th of July tips

Thank you for your interest in Napa Valley Paddle and the northern reaches of San Pablo Bay!

EXTENDED HOURS FOR July 2,3 & 4th     9am - 830pm    Rentals can be booked online or call 707.200.5511

The best *tidal* paddling for 4th of July weekend 2022 will be early & late in the day.   

WIND: 2-5pm the San Pablo Bay Breeze will flow (south/southwest) 3-8 mph UP the Napa River.  This occurs daily and has a wonderful cooling effect - temperature on the river is about 7degrees cooler than paved city streets.  Furthermore, our 3/4 mile horseshoe shaped Oxbow in downtown features a well - defined riverbank, which provides some protection from the wind on most days as you glide along the river above town in the forested, northern reach.   Always check local forecast prior to launch!

DROUGHT: Napa River levels are not affected by drought other than salinity rising earlier than normal.  You can enjoy wonderful, family-oriented paddling year-round on the Napa River.  This is flat water with a relaxed current.  Average depth between 8 -12 feet and always in close proximity to shallow water.

BOAT TRAFFIC:  5 mph, no- wake zone above Kennedy Park with very little boat traffic (if any) particularly north of the Main Street Dock where you will launch during peak season, April - October.

  THIS IS A TIDAL ESTUARY ENVIRONMENT - MIXING ZONE OF FRESH & SALT WATER

THE TIDES:  Tides on the Napa River are pretty relaxed thanks to the Living River Restoration project which reintroduced the river contours and riparian growth along the shoreline above Kennedy Park all the way to Trancas Crossing Park, 5 miles.   The river was re-connected to the flood plain and as a result, paddlers benefit from slower moving water along the inside of the turns ( take this line when paddling against the tide) or faster moving water along the outside where the water is deep.

TIP 1:  Think of the river like a race track.  The deep channel can be found wherever the TIDAL water flows naturally.  The water moves very slowly if at all, in the shallows (on the inside of the turns) and faster in the deeper water - toward the middle of the river or outside of tight bends.  Again, do not get discouraged.  Tidal waters on this river are relaxed, you can always find slow moving water and make good time!

TIP 2: Regarding tide pattern, the best way to remember the pattern here is "every other week".   This 4th of Jly weekend (for example) we have an incoming tide all day long, beginning at 1055am on Saturday, July 2nd.  The following weekend the Napa River will enjoy a morning, high tide.  This pattern 'every other week' continues throughout the year and for eternity!  So on, and so forth. 

We enjoy a morning high tide every-other-weekend.  Alternating weekends will generally experience incoming tides that last all day.

TIP 3:  THE TIDES MOVES UP APROXIMATELY 45 MINUTES PER DAY.  Therefore, low tide on Saturday July 3rd is 1045am, Sunday 1130am and 1215pm for the 4th of July celebrations.

4th of July Weekend 2022!  We will be staying open late, until 830pm so that our customers can enjoy the best paddling conditions and music from the Oxbow Stage!!  Be sure to ask your NVP staff where to hear music from the water - its just 3/4 mile up river.     Best Regards and Happy Paddling! 

Drew Dickson   NVP