Great California rafting is to be found on the American River, just north of Sacramento. Rafting trips on the American River can be experienced 7 days a week from the months of April through September depending on water levels.

Both beginner and experienced rafters can enjoy an action packed raft trip down one of the most beautiful and popular rivers in the country. Most outfitters will take rafters ages 6 and up, depending upon section and water levels.

The Three Forks of the American River in California

The North Fork, South Fork and Middle Fork of the American River begin in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada range in Northern California and winds and tumbles through spectacular granite canyons into the rolling foothills of the historic California gold country.

In close proximity to San Francisco, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, The Middle Fork of the American is one of the most popular rafting trips in the country. In a true wilderness setting the Middle Fork is runnable from May to September and contains many exciting rapids and incredible scenery. Rafters will experience a multitude of Class IV rapids as the Middle Fork wobbles and sways through an isolated canyon. This is where the notorious Tunnel Chute Rapid is to be found.

The South Fork is another very popular rafting trip in California. Running through the heart of California's Gold Country, the South Fork of the American offers outstanding rapids for both the begginer and experienced rafter.

Those with previous rafting experience will enjoy the excitement of the North Fork of the American. A classic spring run, available in April and May, the rapids are technical and continuous. The North Fork of the American River depends on snowmelt for its water flow, instead of dam releases.

What to Wear When Rafting the American River

Your outfitter provides boats, guides, helmets, life jackets and in most cases, lunch. Though wetsuits are often available (and recommended for spring trips), a swimsuit under a synthetic shirt and shorts should be sufficient for summer rafting. Good footwear, such as athletic sandals or water socks, are also strongly recommended. Don't forget your waterproof disposable camera.

It is common for spectators to gather along the banks of the rapids, and they will want to see you take a spill. It's easy to be distracted by the mossy boulders and soaring trees and ferns lining the river, but do pay attention to your river guide. He is part yarn-spinner, part boat-steerer and part drill sergeant. Your guide will tell you exactly what to do so that you can have a safe and enjoyable trip on the American River in California.

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Tributary Whitewater Tours

20480 Woodbury Dr.Grass ValleyCA95949USA


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Whitewater Voyages

5225 San Pablo Dam Rd.El SobranteCA94803USA


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All-Outdoors California Rafting

1250 Pine St. Suite 103Walnut CreekCA94596USA


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American River Recreation

PO Box 465LotusCA95651USA


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W.E.T. River Trips

PO Box 160024SacramentoCA95816USA


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