Waterski on mountain lakes

Boating and Rafting

There’s nothing like launching out on calm, glassy water on a crisp morning with your fishing gear, picnic setup, and a thermos full of hot coffee.


Donner Lake is a beautiful high alpine lake not to be missed if you need to cool off in the heat of summer

Reservoirs with boat launches include Boca Reservoir near Truckee, Englebright Lake, Rollins Lake, Jackson Meadows Reservoir, Scotts Flat Lake, and Stampede Reservoir.

Keep your dream vacation spot beautiful by participating in the South Yuba River clean up. You can volunteer or donate to keep our rivers clean. You can even win prizes in the “Trash or Treasure” competition!

Rent kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and more at Donner Lake Marina and Mountain Recreation.

Find affordable rafting and special offers with H2O Adventures.


Learn how to clean, drain and dry your boat to prevent invasive species.

For more information on boating in Truckee, click here!

Find even more places to launch your boat. Things To Do In Nevada City

If you’re staying in Grass Valley, check out Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce’s website for water recreation!

Boating In Abundance, Whatever Your Vessel of Choice May Be

In Nevada County, we’re surrounded by lakes, reservoirs, and the South Yuba River or Truckee River. You can take your pick where you want to go boating or rafting! 

If you want to get out on a larger body of water, Donner Lake is a great choice! With sandy beaches, a fully-equipped marina, and an impressive depth of 328 ft, you can spend a whole day or a whole week here having the time of your life. Rollins Lake is surrounded by campgrounds so you can camp, boat, and fish during your stay. So, get that camping stove ready because you can bring your hot coffee straight from the campsite to your boat!

Try stand up stand up paddleboarding or renting a kayak, hydrobike, or pedal boat! You’re bound to have a great time and you might see some interesting wildlife along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for osprey and bald eagles (ready to dive for fish from the sky) and beaver dams along the shoreline.

Drift Downstream and Let Your Worries Drift Away

Nevada County also offers abundant opportunities for river-lovers. The Truckee River is a great, mellow river experience. You can start near Tahoe City and end at the River Ranch, enjoying a nice float to beat the summer heat. Don’t forget to “Leave No Trace” and bring plenty of water to drink. Rafts can be rented at several locations near the put-in. Lower down in the county, you can embark on an epic adventure on the water with guided rafting; professional guides are dedicated to keeping you safe while offering the best day ever! Whitewater rafting allows us to be more connected to our rivers, our environment, and our state of (of mind). You can enjoy the sport for a day, an overnighter, or even multiple days! For expert whitewater kayakers, there are several famous world-class stretches of river.