California Whitewater Rafting Trips near San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
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1 Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Chili Bar Run

1 Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Chili Bar Run

1 Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Chili Bar Run

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Departures: DailY, May through mid-September

MEET TIME: 8:30am-2:00-2:30pm

Trip Difficulty: Class II-III

Who Should Go: Novice & experienced, Ages 7-97

Type of Raft: Paddle boat, 6-8 paddlers plus a professional guide

Price Range:

    Adult: $149
    Youth: $134
    Adult: $119
    Youth: $104
  • plus 8% River Use Fee
  • Group rates are available.

Not Included: 8% River Use Fee, gratuities, rentals

Available to Rent: Wet suits if needed (usually spring & early summer); tents, sleeping bags & pads (for campers)


The 1 Day South Fork American River Rafting trip-Chili Bar Run is perfect for those of you looking for a morning-early afternoon trip on the South Fork American River. Our meet time is 8:30am and you will be ready to depart for your next destination by 2:30pm. Located near Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, the Class II-III South Fork of the American River is the most popular river in California.

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 for an additional fee.

Download: South Fork Chili Bar 1-Day Rafting Trip DIRECTIONS and PACKING LIST.

  • Trip Includes

    • LENGTH OF RIVER: 10.5 miles, Chili Bar to Mariah Camp; fun, safe whitewater rafting
    • TIME ON RIVER: 3 hours plus lunch
    • MEALS: BBQ Lunch at camp; sometimes a deli lunch on the river
    • AMENITIES: Hot water showers, flush toilets, ping pong, volleyball, horseshoes
    • GUIDES & EQUIPMENT: Professional fun guides & instruction, river equipment & river shuttles
    • CAMPING: YOUR TRIP INCLUDES CAMPING THE NIGHT PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP. You may arrive anytime after 5:00pm.
    • Day 1

      8:30 AM: Meet, greet, and sign in with your river guides.

      9:00 AM: We board our river vehicles for the 30 minute drive to Chili Bar.

      10:00 AM: Launch your boats and begin 5 miles of Class II-III rapids.

      12:00 PM: Conquer Troublemaker Rapid, the biggest of the river! Have your photo taken as you come through the rapid.

      12:30-1:00 PM: Enjoy 5 miles of relaxing Class I-II rapids, & beautiful scenery.

      1:00-1:30 PM: Arrive by river to the Mariah Campground and enjoy a BBQ lunch, & slide show.

      2:00-2:30 PM: Depart for your next destination.

      Trip Orientation is always very instructional; your head guide takes at least 30 minutes to discuss safety features of the trip and demonstrate paddle techniques. He/she will demonstrate and explain everything you need to know in order to enjoy a safe, as well as fun, experience. You will gain a healthy respect for the river as well as feel secure that you will be okay. You will meet the other rafters on your trip and meet you own guide.

      Promptly at 9:00am we board our Mariah vehicles for the 30-minute drive to the Chili Bar Put-in, the top section of the river. Chili Bar is named after the Chileans who traveled up from Chili in 1849 to be a part of the Gold Rush of 1849! You already know your guide, and you are already an accomplished paddler, so we launch into the current. The river starts out with exciting rapids so be prepared for a thrill from the beginning. During the first 5.5 miles we will raft through fun and challenging rapids like Meatgrinder, Race Horse Bend, and the Triple Threats. At mile 5.5 we enter Troublemaker Rapid, the largest rapid on the South Fork; hold on to your hat!! After this fun rapid we’ll drift and paddle through gorgeous scenery, enjoying the scenic river and calmer rapids.

      At one point, we float past a replica of Sutter’s Mill, the site where that first gold nugget was discovered in 1848 that started the California Gold Rush of 1849.

      Arriving back at Mariah’s campground between 12:30-1:00pm we enjoy a hearty barbecue lunch. You will have time to shop for souvenir t-shirts in our walk-in store, say goodbye to your guides and exchange email addresses with the other participants.

      You will be ready to depart exhilarated and refreshed for your next destination by 2:00-2:30PM.

    • 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 included in the price of your trip.  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.