California Whitewater Rafting Trips near San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
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American River Rafting

Whitewater rafting on the American River ranks among one of the most popular recreational expeditions in California. From unparalleled scenic beauty to the adrenaline rush of adventure, it’s an all-outdoors experience with something for everyone. At Mariah Wilderness Expeditions, we’ve been exploring all three forks of this mighty historic whitewater river for more than 30 years. OUR GUIDES ARE PROFESSIONAL, VERY EXPERIENCED, HAVE WORKED FOR MARIAH FOR YEARS; THEY ARE GREAT STORYTELLERS, AND DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE SAFE AND ENJOYABLE. THEY ARE ALSO GREAT COOKS!

Whether you are a seasoned American river rafting enthusiast, a beginner, or somewhere in between, we offer an American River whitewater rafting trip that’s just right for you. Read more about the American River, below.

Whitewater Rafting the American River: A Triple Adventure!

The American River is divided into three forks, the South Fork American is 21 miles long and excellent as an introductory-intermediate river for families. IT IS SAFE AND TONS OF FUN! The Middle Fork American runs 18 miles and is well known for its intermediate-level rapids, including the famous Tunnel Chute. THE GUIDES MAKE THIS TRIP SAFE AS WELL AS EXCITING! The North Fork American is 9 miles long and is best suited for more experienced rafters. OUR GUIDES ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST! YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR A SAFE ADVENTURE WILL BE MET.

Nearly 2,000 Square Miles of Natural Wonders

You could spend a lifetime exploring this magnificent Norther Northern California River. The American River drainage covers more than 1900 square miles of the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests, including the Granite Chief Wilderness and Desolation Wilderness. Flowing west from the peaks of the northern Sierra Nevada west of Lake Tahoe, its streams gradually converge into the South, Middle and North Forks of the American River. It is a classic multi-use watershed, supporting mining, hydroelectric generation, timber cultivation, and many forms of outdoor recreation.

  • South Fork American River Whitewater Rafting

    Click here to view all South Fork American River Trips

    Perfect for families, youth groups, corporations, singles, and groups of friends, the South Fork American River is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California, just an hour drive from Sacramento. This river has become California’s most popular Class II-III whitewater rafting river is enjoyed by our guests once, twice, sometimes three times each summer.

    The South Fork American River flows through the Coloma-Lotus area which is famous as the site of the famous Sutter’s Mill where the first gold nugget was discovered in 1848 launching the huge California Gold Rush of 1849. The river flows through Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, a popular California tourist attraction. THE GUIDES ARE PROFESSIONAL, EXPERIENCED, AND HAVE WORKED FOR MARIAH FOR MANY YEARS. THEY DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A SAFE AND FUN ADVENTURE. DID I MENTION THAT THEY ARE ALSO GOOD COOKS.

    We offer several different types of trips on the South Fork of the American River: ½-Day Chili Bar, 1/2-day gorge, 1-Day, 2-Day trips with wine-tasting during hors d’oeuvres, and Winery Touring and Rafting Trips. Our campground and our unique tent-cabins help make your overnight rafting adventures memorable.

  • Middle Fork of the American River Whitewater Rafting

    Click here to view all Middle Fork American River Trips

    The Middle Fork of the American River runs through the scenic Sierra Foothills of Tahoe National Forest. From Oxbow Powerhouse the Middle Fork of the American River drops to the confluence with the North Fork of the American some 24 miles downriver just above the Highway 49 bridge near Auburn, California and an hour north of Sacramento.

    For rafters looking for excitement a step or two higher than the South Fork the Middle Fork American River has become one of the most popular. Families, corporations, older youth groups, honeymooners, and church groups find this river gives them the excitement they are looking for.

    This river was made famous by the California gold miners in their quest for gold. In the 1850’s there were hundreds of small hamlets peopled by gold miners from around the world. Historic remnants of those glorious days are easily found in the Middle Fork river canyon, and modern-day gold miners trying their luck. We offer three different types of trips on the Middle Fork of the American River: 1-Day trips, 2-Day trips, and South Fork & Middle Fork Combo trips.

  • North Fork American River Whitewater Rafting

    Click here to view all North Fork American River Trips

    An hour north of Sacramento, on your way to Reno, you will find the Class IV North Fork of the American River which has some of the best technical whitewater rafting in California.

    Plummeting out of the Desolation Valley basin near Lake Tahoe is the free-flowing North Fork of the American River with rock walls tower 2000′ to 4000′ above the river, creating a majestic backdrop for cascading waterfalls, brightly colored wildflowers, and the aquamarine waters of the North Fork itself. It is best known for its thrilling class IV and V whitewater, challenging hiking trails, outstanding fishing, abundant wildlife, and dramatic scenery. The upper stretch has a gradient drop of 50′ per mile through a narrow granite canyon with spectacular whitewater!

    We offer two different types of trips on the North Fork of the American River: 1-Day and 2-Day Combo trips.