With two rivers offering whitewater recreation opportunities plus an abundance
of scenic alpine lakes, boating enthusiasts can find multiple reasons to indulge their passion on the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway. The North Fork Stanislaus River offers experienced kayakers and rafters the chance to paddle a five-mile, Class IV stretch of the river between Sourgrass, near Dorrington and Calaveras Big Trees State Park, just east of Arnold. The run offers an exciting adventure through a spectacular, heavily timbered, isolated canyon, with abundant wildlife and numerous Native American and Gold Rush era artifacts. The East Fork Carson River, a designated California State Scenic River, provides a tamer, Class II stretch of whitewater beginning at the Hangman’s Bridge put-in spot just east of Markleeville.

Flatwater paddlers can enjoy a variety of lakes with easy access for kayaks and canoes including such popular spots as White Pines Lake, Spicer Reservoir (for the more advanced paddlers due to wind), Union and Utica Reservoirs, and Lake Alpine on the Calaveras Ranger District. Motor boats are allowed on several lakes with a maximum speed limit of five mph; for high speed water sports such as water skiing and personal water crafts, head to the lower elevation reservoirs such as New Melones Lake outside Angels Camp or Lake Tulloch in Copperopolis, both off Highway 4 west of the byway or Lake Tahoe accessible from the east side.