California Whitewater Rafting Trips near San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
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1 Day Middle Fork American River Whitewater Rafting Trip

1 Day Middle Fork American River Whitewater Rafting Trip

1 Day Middle Fork American River Whitewater Rafting Trip

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Departures: Daily Mid-May through mid-September

MEET TIMES: 8:00am-4:30pm.  EXCEPT JUNE 25 the Meet Time is 8:00am – 3:00pm because of the Western States Run, a 30-hour, 100-mile endurance run; AND EXCEPT July 23 the Meet Time is 8:00am – 3:00pm because of the Tevis Cup Ride, a 100-mile horse endurance race.

Trip Difficulty: Enthusiastic Beginner-Intermediate Class II-IV

Who Should Go: Enthusiastic beginner, intermediate & experienced, Ages 14-97

Type of Raft: Paddle boat, 6 paddlers plus a professional guide

Price Range:

    Adult: $169
    Youth: $154
    Adult: $139
    Youth: $124
    Adult: $119
    Youth: $119

Not Included: 8% River Use Fee, gratuities

Available to Rent: Wet suits if needed (usually spring & early summer).


A 1 Day Middle Fork American River Whitewater Rafting trip, located near Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Auburn, has become one of the most popular whitewater rafting trips for intermediate level white water rafting trips in California.

This trip is perfect for those of you looking for a quick rafting getaway on exciting rapids.

If you are looking to extend your adventure, please consider camping with us an extra night, either before or after your trip. If we already have a dinner or breakfast on the schedule you are welcome to join us.The additional camping and meals are for a small add-on price.

Download: Middle Fork American River 1-day trip Rafting Trip DIRECTIONS and PACKING LIST.

  • Trip Includes

    • LENGTH OF RIVER: 18 miles, Oxbow Reservoir to Driver’s Flat; fun, safe whitewater rafting
    • TIME ON RIVER: 6 hours including picnic lunch on the river
    • MEALS: Lunch
    • AMENITIES, GUIDES & EQUIPMENT: Professional, fun, professional guides & instruction, river equipment & river shuttles from/to Auburn Meet spot.
    • Day 1

      8:00 AM: Meet, greet, and sign in with your head guide in Auburn.

      8:30 AM: Board Mariah Vehicles for the 45-min. drive down to Oxbow Reservoir Put-In.

      9:30 AM: Launch your boats and begin your river journey. Encounter the Tunnel Chute rapid.

      12:00 PM: Enjoy a hearty picnic lunch on the river.

      12:30-3:00 PM: Enjoy an afternoon of Class II-IV rapids, & beautiful scenery.

      3:00-4:30 PM: Arrive at the Drivers’ Flat Take-Out, board Mariah vehicles and depart back to Auburn where your cars are parked. You will be able to view online and purchase online your photos from your river trip.

      ENROUTE TO OXBOW RESERVOIR: Once we leave Auburn we start our descent down to the Oxbow Bend Put-In, driving through a beautiful and isolated section of the canyon.

      By 9:00am we should arrive at our put-in just below Oxbow Reservoir. We gather together for a thorough 30-minute presentation given by your Head Guide to discuss the safety features of the trip and demonstrate paddle techniques. We will then launch boats and spend the day rafting this beautiful and isolated wilderness canyon.

      This 18 mile trip is a full day, Middle Fork extravaganza for those of you wanting a lot of excitement in one, very full day. We’ll be on the river early, running the Tunnel Chute and lots of other exciting rapids as well as floating and paddling the calmer stretches of the river. We have time to admire the beauty of the canyon and river before we get to the Tunnel Chute rapid!! At the end of the rapid, after having successfully paddled through the tunnel, we take a short break before heading down-river for Kanaka, a big Class IV rapid. After that we have a few more Class III and IV rapids before pulling over to shore and enjoying a hearty picnic lunch.

      After re-boarding our rafts, we paddle through lots of different rapids and several stretches of calm water and enjoy the gorgeous vistas and spectacular 1,000’ high cliffs. Chunder rapid, a big Class IV, warns us that we are almost at Ruck-A-Chucky, a Class VI rapid and maze of huge boulders. We will portage the boats around this and the guests will do a short, but somewhat strenuous climb over boulders, in order to walk around the rapid. A guide will be with you during the walk to offer assistance, if needed. After re-boarding your rafts you will raft through several Class IV rapids, Cleavage and Parallel Parking, plus some smaller rapids in a very narrow, and beautiful gorge. There are several sharp turns in this canyon so we are always anticipating what will come next.

      We should be at Driver’s Flat take-out between 3:00 – 4:30pm. We load the boats and gear onto our shuttle vehicles, grab a cool bottle of water, and then it’s a 45-minute drive back to our South Fork Campground. You should be ready to depart for home by 4:00-4:30pm.

    • Guest Review

      “Mariah is the only rafting company we use.We absolutely love you guys and appreciate the service you provide.We’ll continue to promote Mariah and tell our friends and family about Mariah!!Robin (our driver) and Erick (our guide) were terrific.Eric was very entertaining, great sense of humor, lots of fun.We haven’t had a bad guide with Mariah yet!!” H.G., Middle Fork 1 Day, 6/2/13. 

      “Everything was excellent!Kevin and Haley were awesome.I may be bringing my work team in a month.” E.W., Middle Fork 1 Day, 6/3/13.

    • Our Campground

      We have a beautiful campground, large and spacious. There are lots of trees which means that there are many sites that can accommodates groups of all sizes. Very unique to Mariah are our Tent Cabins which are all built on platforms and most include deluxe cots, foam pads and deck chairs. Each houses between 2-5 persons.
    • View River Rapids Map

    The Evening Before Your Trip!
    Camping at the Mariah’s South Fork of the American River Campground this night is not included in the price of your trip. However, we invite you to join us for a small additional fee. If you camp with us the night prior to your trip, we request that you come anytime after 5:00pm. Our Camp Host will greet you, give you any rentals you have reserved, and show you where you may camp. There are several nice restaurants nearby where you may enjoy a lovely dinner. Our Camp Host will be on duty from 5:00pm – 9:00pm; however, you may come after 9:00pm, just have your flashlight handy. A lantern will be lit next to our large campground map so you can see where you are. Also, if you have not arrived by the time the host goes off duty, they will write you a welcome note which will be posted on the big white board next to the big camp map. The note to you will give you appropriate instructions regarding camping and any rentals you have.