Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

In the heart of Sacramento visitors can experience the area’s vibrant art scene with Second Saturdays, listen to up-and-coming artists perform during the summer Concerts in the Park series, or perhaps sprawl out on a lawn chair under The Barn, which hosts a wide variety of outdoor events. But among the locals, a lesser known area draws them outside: the Port of West Sacramento’s Barge Canal.

It’s easy river access and less crowded waterfront is perfect for the casual boater or fisherman. With little current pushing or pulling you in either direction, the canal is the ideal location for a quick and easy paddle out or getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sacramento’s nearby downtown.

The lure of the American River that connects to the canal has it’s perks too, but the port gives a unique peek into the region’s cargo and commodity transportation. This man-made canal stretches over 40 miles and is approximately 30 feet deep, and it connects to Suisan Bay and San Francisco.

As you paddle west along along the canal you will see both remnant and active loading and unloading stations that have helped transport the area’s rich agriculture all over the world. It isn't just commodities and cargo that frequent the river passage, however. Migrating Canada geese also use this stretch of water as a pit stop on their travels north.

As the state capital, Sacramento has been at the epicenter and crossway of California’s trade and politics for decades. A journey along the Barge Canal is a journey through part of what made that history possible.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Easy access. Wildlife viewing.


Trash along the riverside.


Picnic tables
Bird watching

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




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