splashes and fun rafting the South Fork American River

“Your staff went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver an overall outstanding rafting performance. Everyone in our group shared this sentiment!” -Nina

Difficulty: Class III

Minimum Age: 8 years

Season: April through October

Availability: Every day except Wednesday

SFA Prices

The South Fork American River is one of the most popular rivers in the United States. It has just the right mix of all the things people love about California whitewater rafting — exciting rapids, beautiful scenery, interesting history and a location close to the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and Sacramento.

One-Day Rafting Trips

Chili Bar Run (10.5 miles, meet time: 8am)

The California whitewater rafting action on this stretch of river starts immediately with Meatgrinder, the longest, most technical rapid on the South Fork American River. Continuing through the canyon Class III rapids like Racehorse Bend and Triple Threat prepare you for the infamous Troublemaker just above Coloma. The river then mellows to a fun, relaxing float through the historic Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park where you will stop for a hearty lunch prepared by your guides. During this section you can have a chance to learn to guide the raft, swim in the river or just enjoy the conversation with your raft-mates. Chili Bar is a morning trip and we are usually off the river by early afternoon. This gives you a chance to relax at camp, visit some of the local historical sights or go on a hike or mountain bike ride.

“Thirteen friends and I had the pleasure of rafting with your outfit last weekend. Many of our group are event planners and well-versed in the art of hospitality. Your company is one of the finest.” -Emma

Gorge Run (10.5 miles, meet time: 11am)

The Gorge Run begins at our camp in Coloma on the South Fork American River with a series of Class I and II warm-up rapids. We stop for lunch by the river before the canyon narrows and the river sweeps us downstream in a series of near continuous Class III rapids. You will hear the screams and high fives before you arrive at rapids like Satan’s Cesspool and Hospital Bar. If you are not an early morning riser or plan to drive to Mother Lode the morning of your trip, the Gorge’s 11:00 AM meeting time is perfect for you!

Full River (21 miles, meet time 8am)

Take the Chili Bar run and add on the Gorge after lunch, and you have done a Double Run! This lengthy 21-mile day is the most California whitewater rafting bang for your buck, but not for the faint of heart! You will paddle the action-packed 10+ miles of the Chili Bar whitewater rapids, stopping at the River Center to rest, refuel, and recharge with a hearty lunch. Then you hop back in the boat and continue with the exhilarating whitewater of the Gorge!

Two-Day Rafting Trips

Not only will you get to enjoy two days of California whitewater rafting, you’ll also have the pleasure of staying in our exceptional river camp. We’ll do all the cooking and cleaning so you can relax with a good book, enjoy a game of volleyball, or just sit and watch the sun set over the hills. Our guides will amaze you with their culinary delights. After a scrumptious dinner designed to satisfy combined with our delicious Dutch-Oven Dessert, you can tell stories by the light of the campfire or gaze at the stars until the river lulls you to sleep. In the morning you will wake with the sun to a sizzling breakfast before departing for a second exhilarating day of whitewater rafting on the river.

Includes two days of California whitewater rafting, all shuttles, camping and meals during your trip.

“Your guides were very capable and took their responsibilities seriously. We were able to enjoy the beauty and the thrill of the river without fear or unsafe conditions with our two kids on board.” -Teresa

Express Whitewater Rafting Trips (1/2 Day)

Perfect for those on a tight budget or with limited time. Enjoy a trimmed down raft trip focused on whitewater excitement. Express trips last approximately four to five hours, including the shuttle. Express California whitewater rafting trips do not include lunch.

back to top