The Wild & Scenic Eel River


Click on major forks of the river to learn more about each one

The Eel River watershed is a magnificent resource in Northern Coastal California. Running south to north, this watershed is the state’s third-largest, draining 3,684 square miles. The mainstem stretches more than two hundred air miles and over 800 river miles from the headwaters above Lake Pillsbury in Lake County to the ocean.

The Eel River has received both State (1972) and Federal (1981) Wild and Scenic River designation, which protect the river from dams and ensure that environmental concerns rank equally with development and industry. Despite this protection, exploitation of Eel River water & fisheries, and habitat destruction continue. Learn more about the Federal Wild & Scenic designation here.

Classification/Mileage: Wild — 97.0 miles; Scenic — 28.0 miles; Recreational — 273.0

VanDuzen NorthFork SouthFork MiddleFork Mainstem