Thank you for your inquiry about the Loon Lake Women’s trip TBA. This trip usually sells out when offered with a waiting list!
The cost for our fully catered wilderness kayaking adventure is $475 per person ( This price includes kayaks, camping fees, permits, kayak instruction, naturalist guides, and 10 well balanced meals (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners). Personal camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and pads are to be provided by participants. Spacious 2 person tents may be rented from Blue Water Ventures for $15 for the weekend (while supplies last).
Due to the nature of our program, proof of a COVID-19 Vaccine will be required to participate. More details below past the packing list.
Please email us first to check if there is still space on our roster. Once confirmed, send a deposit of $150 to: Blue Water Ventures, 127 Mason Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 to secure your place. Space on the roster is guaranteed when payments are received and in the order that we receive them.
You may pay using a credit card via Pay Pal by visiting our secure online Payment Center (please note that there is a 3% service charge on multiple day trips so your online deposit is $155).
This trip does tend to get booked up so I would suggest getting a deposit in. If your plans change before May 1st, you may get your full deposit back. After May 2nd your deposit is non refundable. The balance of $325 per person is due by May 12th or $335 if paying via Pay Pal. Full refunds are granted when notice is given at least 42 days prior to trip departure date. Full refunds will be granted if Blue Water Ventures cancels program. To protect your investment, please consider Travel Insurance ( suggestion below) which we highly recommend.
We are looking forward to our adventure in the Sierras this summer!
—Kim of Blue Water Ventures
Scroll down for packing list, travel insurance and other trip details
Thank you for your interest in the Women’s Weekend Kayak Adventure to Loon Lake, on the western edge of Desolation Wilderness. The breath-taking terrain that surrounds our sea kayaking destination is rich in natural diversity with a colorful history of early settlement.
Our kayak camping adventure begins on the shores of Loon Lake at 12:30pm on TBA and ends at 2:00pm TBA. As always, thorough instruction in sea kayaking, safety and low impact camping will be provided before each activity.
On Thursday, we will pack up our double sea kayaks and have a leisurely paddle to our boat in campsite with plenty of time for a swim (or snorkel) in the cool freshwater. The granite rocks that line the lake are great for relaxing as others swim. Fishing is reportedly quite good.
For the next three nights we will use the same boat in campsite (this is not a car camping trip). There are several options for Friday and Saturday. A vary scenic and moderate hike to Spider Lake is possible and allows for a panoramic view of the expansive Desolation Wilderness area. Kayaking is an option for those who would prefer not to hike. For anyone who is interested, informal instruction in kayak skills including rescues will be available.
On Sunday, we’ll kayak, swim, soak in the sun and explore the inlets of the pristine waterway as we make our way back to the launch site by 2:00pm.
From the Bay area, take US-50 E towards Sacramento/South Lake Tahoe. Continue on US-50 through Placerville and Pollock Pines. Ice House Road which leads to Loon Lake, is 22 miles east of Placerville and 8.5 miles east of Pollock Pines. Crystal Basin/Ice House Rd. is a left exit just after US-50 crosses the South Fork of the American River.
You will now start climbing in elevation to reach Loon Lake, which is about 28 miles from Highway 50. In 24 miles, look for a small brown sign on the right side of the road that reads: Loon Lake 4 miles. This sign is shortly past Wentworth Springs Rd.
At the brown sign take a right towards Loon Lake, approximately 4 more miles. When you reach the next sign for Loon Lake bear left and follow the road around the lake passing over two spillways. If you do not bear left, you will enter into the Main Loon Lake Campground and boat launch. Turn around and exit right around the lake.
Plan on about an hour from the intersection of US-50 and Ice House Road and 4 1/2- 5 hours from the San Francisco Bay Bridge to Loon Lake ( if the traffic is reasonable).
Arrival to Loon Lake
We plan on meeting at the end of the second spillway where we will leave cars and launch our kayaks ( a map will be sent to you later this summer).
Hotels in Area
If you choose to stay at a hotel either before or after the trip, the West Haven Hotel (800-424-9928). is located in Pollock Pines, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Loon Lake. Slightly further away in Placerville is a National 9 Inn, (530 622-3884). For information on hotels in Placerville please visit: Hotel ideas.
Camping Options (before or after trip)
Camping is possible at Loon Lake or at nearby Union Valley Reservoir. Reservations can be made by calling:877-444-6777. For specific camping details call the Eldorado Information Center at: 530-644-6048. The North Shore RV Campground on Loon Lake does not take reservations but has a first come first serve policy. The main campground of Loon Lake on the south shore accepts reservations.
The cost for our wilderness kayaking adventure is $475 per person ( This price includes kayaks, camping fees, permits, kayak instruction, naturalist guides, and 10 meals (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners). Personal camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and pads are to be provided by participants. Spacious 2 person tents may be rented from Blue Water Ventures for $15 for the weekend (while supplies last).
To register for this program, please send a deposit of $150 to BWV, 127 Mason Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. The balance of $325 is due by May 12th.
Blue Water Ventures strongly recommends that participants purchase Travel Insurance for all multi-day trip destinations. Travel Insurance is a very affordable tool to protect your investment. Please scroll down past the packing list for more information on Travel Insurance
I hope this letter answers a few questions. We are looking forward to our adventure in Loon Lake! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions.
Kim Powell, MRPA
Owner, Operator & Naturalist
Blue Water Ventures
phone & fax: 831-459-8548
127 Mason St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
___ 1 Sleeping bag- non cotton style; if renting, ask for one that is compact and med-heavy rated
___ 1 Ensolite sleeping pad or thermarest (closed cell only; no foam/sponge that absorbs water)
___ 1 Tent- compact designed for 1-2 people (rentals available from us-$15 for weekend-while supplies last or you may try REI or a university rec center)
___ 2 or 3 small duffels lined with a garbage bag or small dry bags for personal gear
___ 1 Fanny pack or small compact daypack—no need for large daypacks!
___ 1 Bathing suit
___ 2- 3 T-Shirts
___ 1 lightweight shirt that provides sun protection
___ 2 Pairs of shorts (quick dry and lightweight )
___ 2 Pair of long pants ( 1 pair of fleece is preferred; sweat pants or convertible style pants are acceptable for second pair
___ Rain gear -jacket with rain pants or poncho with rain pants (durable, no flimsy plastic)
___ 1 Fleece, capilene or wool sweater – medium rated
___ 1 pair of long underwear (top and bottom- fleece, silk or capilene)
___ 1 warm hat (i.e. fleece ski cap )
___ 1 Pair of sturdy tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boot
___ 1 Pair of wet suit booties, sandals with a back strap for support or tennis shoes — any style is fine but they will get wet; we don’t recommend crocs as they
offer little support on rocks; We recommend Keens(such as the Newport H2) that provide toe protection
___ 2 Pairs of socks —at least one wool or wool/silk blend style
___ 1 Bath towel or a sarong can be used as a towel—lightweight and packs up easily
___ 1 or 2 Bandanas – a versatile item to have around camp
___ 1 Ball cap or lightweight hat to shade face & ears
___ Toiletries (toothbrush, paste, lotions -small amounts in small plastic bottles)
___ Sunscreen (20 strength or greater) & chapstick with sunscreen
___ Good body lotion for replenishing dry skin
___ Sunglasses with leash (UV protection)
___ Bug Repellent-small amount, we like by Lemon Eucalyptus Repel which is a natural non deet based product and effective
___ 2 water bottles–full
___ 1 Gallon size container of water(i.e. recycled plastic milk jug or purified water jug)
___ 2-3 garbage bags i.e. Steel Sacs or white compressor bags- for organizing gear
___ 2-3 ziplocs –for organizing and packing gear
___ Small flashlight or head lamp with extra batteries
___ Coffee Mug for coffee or tea
___ 2 carabiners (med. size simple design inexpensive but useful )— to attach items to boat
___ Face Masks and Personal Hand Sanitizer
___ Camera –
___ Folded flat camp chair– i.e. Crazy creek must be compact; no metal frames!
___ Binoculars and camera stored in dry bag
___ Dry bags
___ Compact fishing gear and license
___ Mask and snorkel
___ Small Camp Pillow
___ Rash Guard-for added warmth in water or sun protection
___ Sock liners– that wick moisture (may be purchased at a Outdoor, surf, dive or kayak store)
___ Small amount of your Favorite adult beverage
___ Down or synethic jacket lightweight and packs easily
MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: As new information unfolds regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we will update this link as we learn new requirements As new protocol evolves (such as the use of face masks during certain activities), we will update information here. Due to the nature of this trip, a group camping experience, we will require everyone to submit proof of the COVID-19 vaccine by August 1st.
COVID PROTOCOL: Please review our COVID-19 Protocol for our kayaking programs at: COVID-19 UPDATE
COVID Updates as of May 29th, 2021: Since our Loon Lake program is fully outdoors and the COVID-19 vaccination, is required to participate, face masks will be optional during much of our program. This information is based on the recent updates provided by the CDC for fully vaccinated people. Please remember to send us your COVID-19 vaccination card by August 1st that indicates at least 2 weeks of full vaccination.
We will ask that face masks be worn while food is being served to the group, so as you line up at meal time. Some women may prefer to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing throughout the day, which we fully support. We ask that you respect everyone’s personal decision to either maintain distance or their choice to wear a face mask. Several hand sanitizer stations will be conveniently located throughout camp and we will encourage everyone to carry a small hand sanitizer with you. Our staff will wear face masks while serving food.
Proof of A COVID-19 Vaccine will be required. If you test positive and can not get vaccinated, no refunds will be given. However, we highly recommend Travel Insurance, that will protect your investment, especially in the COVID-19 era. The World Wide Protector Plan which has the “cancel for any reason” add on feature. Please follow the link above or consider other travel insurance companies. We realize insurance is an added costs. However, if you search around for other California tours, our program costs are very reasonable and travel insurance is an affordable tool to protect your investment. Our staff will also be required to show us proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. The health and safety of you and our guides are our top priority.
PACKING SUGGESTIONS: Please pack only what is suggested on the What to Bring List. As with backpacking, kayak camping requires that we pack with limited space in mind. Several small duffels for personal gear are better than large ones. Everything must be waterproofed by lining the inside of a duffel bag with a garbage bag. Heavy duty style garbage bags are recommended. The white compressor bags found at Costco work extremely well. There is no need to buy expenses dry bags. In fact, clothing can be double bagged in 2 garbage bags if duffels/dry bags are not available.
DUFFELS OR DRY BAGS: If using duffels, 2 or 3 small duffels lined on the inside with a garbage bag for personal gear are acceptable. Outdoor World carries a variety of inexpensive duffels. You may pack your personal gear into 3 small duffels (9″ by 18′” ) or 1 small duffel and 1 medium duffel (12″ by 24″). Dry bags with similar dimensions may also be used. T-shirts and other clothing rolled tightly and fitted into gallon size ziplocs are a good way to organize and compress gear. Sleeping bags and sleeping pads should be rolled up separately in their own stuff sacs (not in your clothes duffel). If your duffel is too big, we will need to re-pack your clothing into several garbage bags.
SLEEPING BAG: A medium – heavy rated bag is needed. Night temperatures could be in the low 40’s or even cooler. Down, fiberfill or another type of synthetic insulation is acceptable. Bulky cotton covered bags are too big to fit into kayaks and are not acceptable. Compress your bag into a stuff sack lined on the inside with a durable garbage bag.
FOAM PAD: A closed cell foam pad that doesn’t absorb water is needed “Ensolite” “Thermarest” or “Ridgerest” are recommended. Line the inside of your stuff sac with a garbage bag. You will not have room to bring a big bulky air mattress as it will not fit into your kayak.
CHAIRS: We believe in creature comforts while kayak camping! if you would like to bring a compact folded chair, that’s fine. These types can fit flat on the deck of your kayak with additional gear such as a tent packed on top of the chair. You may also purchase sleeves that convert your thermarest sleeping pad into a chair. Crazy Creek has compact non framed chairs that are acceptable and you may buy similar products at most outdoor camping stores. Please do not bring chairs that have a frame as you will need to leave them back in your car. An exception is the extremely lightweight t aluminum frame called the REI Flex Lite Chair.
RAIN GEAR: Good, durable rain gear is essential. A rain poncho or jacket combined with rain pants is required & should be gortex or a coated nylon material. No flimsy plastic that would tear easily.
CLOTHING: Quick drying nylon shorts are great for kayaking and hiking. Sweat pants or pants made of fleece material are recommended although jeans are not advisable. In general, clothing should be loose fitting, fast-drying and comfortable. Your required sweater should be fleece, capilene, wool or a material that insulates even when wet. We may experience cool temperatures so warm pullovers that insulate when damp are crucial for your safety and comfort.
FOOTWEAR: On our optional hike to Spider Lake we suggest either a sturdy tennis shoe, lightweight hiking boot or sturdy sandals that provides toe protection. Open toed sandals are not advisable but a sturdy sandal such as a Keen style that protects the toes is acceptable. When kayaking, you may wear any shoe that you don’t mind getting wet such as a tennis shoe, wetsuit booty or sandal. For warmth at night ,we suggest socks and a tennis shoe or hiking boot. We have found Crocs to be dangerous on the rocks as they offer little support and are not recommended. Your head guide plans to bring a lightweight hiking shoe and Keen Sandal (i.e. Newport H2 with toe protection).
MORE ON HOW TO PACK:Think light! Every ounce adds up to more stuff to carry. Small plastic bottles with screw on tops (i.e. recycled travel size shampoo bottles ) are great for small items such as sunscreen, lotions, shampoo etc.). Avoid sweet smelling lotions that may attract insects. We’ll check out every one’s gear before getting on the water. Small plastic bottles can be found at most drug stores in the travel section or at outdoor stores.
TOILET SYSTEM, HYGIENE AND OTHER TIDBITS: At our primitive campsite, we will be using the PETT toilet system which can be reviewed at: http://www.easycaretoilet.com/ Our PETT is easy to use, environmental friendly and virtually smell free! Most women are in the water each day so actual bathing is not all that common. Hand soap and hand sanitizer will be available around kitchen prep and after toilet use. If you feel the need for a real shower, a bucket of lake water may be taken 100 feet from the shore and using a biodegradable soap, you may rinse off. No soap of any kind is permitted in or near the lake water (Joy, Dawn. CampSuds and Dr. Brommer’s are biodegradable).
FOOD AND WATER: As with backpacking, meals will be planned with limited space in mind. Please indicate by email if you have any dietary needs. Everyone will bring two full water bottles and a jug of water. Additional water used will be boiled or purified with a pumping system.
HOW TO REACH US: In the event of an emergency only, our group can be reached by calling Kim Powell’s cell phone at: 831-345-2417. Cell service has improved each summer but is still rather patchy. The call may not go through. An alternative number is the US Forest Service Dispatch: at 530-647-5250 or the Eldorado County Sheriffs Dept: 530 621-5655.
We are camped at the Pleasant Lake Boat In Campsite and will be in that vicinity most of the time.
Good luck as you prepare for our adventure!