50 years of experience

Since our founding in 1974, we’ve safely guided over 300,000 guests down 3 million river miles.

Our Guides are attracted by our special purpose. They are friendly, fun and great communicators who receive extensive training not only as river guides, but also as ropes course facilitators and outdoor educators.

Our Safety Record is one of the best in our industry and our guide training has always set new standards. For instance, we helped Rescue 3’s founder, Jim Segerstrom, adapt their Swiftwater Rescue Training, originally intended for first responders, for river guides. We then became the first company to incorporate Swiftwater Rescue Training into our Guide School. This has since become the international standard for excellence.

Find Your Adventure

California’s Best Whitewater Rafting

Running through the heart of Gold Country, the American River is the most popular destination for whitewater rafting in California. As one of California’s original rafting companies, no one offers better guides, gear and whitewater excitement than Mother Lode River Center. We strive to make every river trip a peak experience.

Our Challenge Ropes Course and Zipline are integrated into our riverside camp and can be combined with rafting. Unique on the West Coast.

Our Outdoor Education Programs are custom designed and include natural history interpretation, river science, Native American history, River Skills, Guide School and a wide range of topics for school and other groups.

Add the above to gorgeous riverside camping, delicious meals, s’mores, starry nights, river otters, beaver sign, a hawk or even an eagle cry during those special moments on the grinding stones- Mother Lode has what you need!  



Find Your Escape

Yes, Mother Lode River Center is more than a rafting company, it is a scenic twenty-acre river oasis meant to help you relax, unplug, connect with others, and learn about nature and yourself. Take the camp tour here!

  • Panoramic river views along half a mile of riverfront property
  • An ancient Native American camp, where dozens of grinding holes are bored into granite bedrock overlooking the river
  • Full-service bathrooms with showers and changing rooms
  • Canvas cabin tents and our “glamping” cabins that offer beds and furniture
  • A camp store, with swag and river necessities
  • A large Pacific Yurt that serves as the perfect meeting, sleeping and performance space

Ancient Grinding Stones Overlook the South Fork of the American River

Protect Our Rivers

At Mother Lode, our mission is to share our love of California’s rivers with you and to help protect these sacred places for future generations. During our five decades, over 30,000 guests have volunteered to write letters in defense of 15 California rivers including the North, South and Middle Forks of the American, Tuolumne, Merced, Kings, Kern Rivers, Cache Creek and most recently the addition of the Mokelumne River to the State Wild and Scenic River system.

Together, our work has helped keep many California rivers running so we can continue to enjoy them today. Visit our Stewardship page to discover more ways we support rivers and how you can help!

Chosen as “River Heroes” by Friends of the River, Marc Dubois, Scott, Emily and Adrienne Underwood celebrate!