US Whitewater > California > Cuyama River



California whitewater, Cuyama River

San Luis Obispo Santa Barbara county, Highway 166 to Twitchell Reservoir section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.


CLASS III-IV     15 miles
Be advised, this river's headwater starts on private, sporatically goes through USFS, back to private. From Cuyama down to Santa Maria is mostly private. Beware of me & my neigbors barb wire fences. Very seasonal to paddle if your lucky. Draws down to a trickle. Twitchel Reservoir, Vaqueor Dam is NOT OPEN to the public. It is on private land. Being seasonal, it has many hazards. Says Steve

This section of Cuyama River is 15 miles long
    and it is classified as a class III-IV section by American Whitewater. The starting point is not too far from Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, there's a road map further down the page with more info on that. The beautiful
scenery of San Luis Obispo / Santa Barbara County and the sparkling of the sunlight on the water have people coming here. This section is long enough for an overnight trip if you take your time, so why not pack your sleeping bag too. Not too many hotels nearby, you'll have to drive a bit to get to one, but you'd better reserve in advance because these hotels fill up quick. The sections for whitewater rafting and kayaking here in California are  
often more challenging than in other states, so don't forget that the rivers in this state are less manageable. Some people prefer whitewater rafting and some kayaking, either way this is an area with not too many other rivers for that. There's camping available near Cuyama River. Getting some good exercise and just being out on the river for a while are sure to keep you coming back for more. The Sierra Madre scenery is wonderful. There are a few other sections in this river system that can be paddled as well.

Briefly about the general area:
Near Cuyama River you stumble on the Willow Spring Trail which is a great hiking trail, and going for a hike on the Lake Ridge Trail is always a perfect adventure.

Cuyama River, Highway 166 to Twitchell Reservoir road map
Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.


Detailed Map

Stats for this river stretch

Local weather forecast

These outdoors activities are available near Cuyama River.
 Whitewater Near Cuyama River:
Cuyama River, San Luis Obispo / Santa Barbara County, 7 miles away
      Class III-IV - 15 miles long (Highway 166 to Twitchell Reservoir)
 Hotels Near Cuyama River:
Quality Inn & Suites Santa Maria, Santa Maria , 19 miles away
Days Inn Santa Maria, Santa Maria , 19 miles away
Americas Best Value Inn, Santa Maria , 19 miles away
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites SANTA MARIA, Santa Maria , 19 miles away
Candlewood Suites SANTA MARIA, Santa Maria , 19 miles away
 Campgrounds Near Cuyama River:
Brookshire Campground, Santa Barbara County, 4 miles away
Baja, Santa Maria, 5 miles away
Horseshoe, Santa Maria, 5 miles away
 Trails Near Cuyama River:
Willow Spring Trail, Santa Barbara , 1 miles away,  4.2 hiking miles, 1637 feet elevation difference
Lake Ridge Trail, Santa Barbara , 4 miles away, 4.5 hiking miles, 1833 feet elevation difference
Indians Trail, Santa Barbara , 6 miles away, 7.5 hiking miles, 1444 feet elevation difference
Machesna Trail, San Luis Obispo , 11 miles away,  4.2 hiking miles, 1390 feet elevation difference
Hi Mountain Trail, San Luis Obispo , 20 miles away, 3.7 hiking miles, 1419 feet elevation difference
 Public Lands Near Cuyama River:
La Purisima Mission State Park, California , 28 miles away
Gaviota State Park, California , 33 miles away
Pismo State Beach, California , 33 miles away

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Some content, including Reach Name, Class, Coordinates, and Length, comes from American Whitewater with permission.