The South Fork and Main Stem Eel River provide numerous boating opportunities throughout the park. The best boating typically occurs in the winter, spring, and early summer due to river fluctuations. During the winter and spring the river can change quickly. River flow will increase dramatically after heavy rainfall, making it unsafe for boating. These condidtions create rapid currents and lots of underwater debris hazards. River flow decreases fairly quickly in the days following a storm. In the summer, lack of rain causes many shallow areas that require portaging.

When the silt settles and the river turns a brilliant emerald green, fisherman head out on the river in float boats during the fall and winter. Kayaks and canoes are often seen in the spring and early summer. The river offers great recreational opporunities and a unique way to experience the park. As it winds its way through the park, the Eel River provides incredible views of old-growth redwoods and wildlife.

River access points are located throughout the park along the Avenue of the Giants. There are no boat rentals or shuttle services within the park. River conditions are unpredictable, so it's best to call before planning a boating trip to the area. Contact the Visitor Center or park staff for more information.