~Dipping your paddle into Rollins Lake in the Fall, can be a real treat!
If you like paddling in the Fall, then you’ll want to put Rollins Lake on your list. This lake is typically full of power boats, water skiers and jet skis during the warm Summer months. However, come Fall, you’ll have the lake pretty much to yourself.
Rollins Lake is located off I-80 near the town of Colfax. There are a few launching facilities; this is the launch at Orchard Springs and is next to the dam. The fee to park here is about $10 per car.
The water was perfectly flat when I paddled here in November 2014, the day after Thanksgiving. What better way to burn off that turkey dinner than a paddle!
If you’re lucky, you’ll spot an Osprey along the way. This one was watching us, but also looking for a post Thanksgiving meal.
Just look at that flat water! These pictures were actually taken in the Spring of 2016! Which can also be a great time of the year to paddle here. You’ll notice the water is almost at the tree line from all the rain. Compare this to pictures following to show how low the water was in 2013 and 2014.
This photo was taken in November 2014. The water that year was so low.
This shot was from November 2013, my first time paddling here. Sometimes it’s fun to surf on the logs!
One of the many Stump creatures crawling down to the water.
After about a 3 mile paddle you’ll reach an area where the Bear River spills into the lake. Depending on water levels, you can continue to paddle to one of the rocky beaches and take out for lunch.
Marty was enjoying the paddle! He loves to fish and typically you’ll see him geared up with a pole and line in the water.
Another shot when the water was the lowest I’ve seen. Getting out was a bit of a challenge.
This is the launch at Long Ravine, which is easier to get too, once you get off I-80.
Regardless of where you launch, bring along a change of clothing in your dry bag and your lunch. Be prepared for some wind in your face upon the return (isn’t this always the case?!?) on most days. You’ll get in at least a 6-8 mile round trip paddle depending on water levels and how far back into the canyon you go. There won’t be much activity on the lake aside from a few fishermen and possibly a few other paddlers, who like yourself, enjoy a nice quiet day on the water.
Follow I-80 East from Sacramento for about an hour and take the Colfax exit and follow 174 to your desired launch spot. To get to Long Ravine, you’ll take Rollins Lake Road at the “Y” where 174 splits off and the entrance will be on your left. To get to Orchard Springs, you’ll continue on 174 past the “Y” for about 15-20 minutes. Watch for Orchard Springs Road on your right.