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

2 Day Middle and South Fork American River Rafting Trip

2 Day Middle and South Fork American River Rafting Trip

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Departures: Thursday (Middle Fork-Chile Bar) and Saturday (Middle Fork-Chili Bar). May through September 13, 9:00 am-3:00 pm

Trip Difficulty: Beginner Class II-III

Who Should Go: Enthusiastic beginner, intermediate & experienced, Ages 12-97

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

Price Range:

  • Saturday: Adult $329 | Youth: $299
  • Thursday: Adult $299 | Youth $269
  • plus 8% River Use Fee

Not Included: 8% River Use Fee, gratuities, wetsuits if needed

Available to Rent: Wet suits if needed, Tents, sleeping bags & pads


This 2 Day Middle and South Fork American River Rafting Trip is perfect for those looking for an exciting whitewater rafting adventure on two rivers. It is perfect for those of you looking for two days on the rivers, both beginner and intermediate levels.  Located near Sacramento and Auburn, the Middle Fork of the American River is a popular destination for intermediate level rafting trips in California.The South Fork is an hour NE of Sacramento.

If you are looking to extend your 2 Day Middle and South Fork American River Rafting Trip, 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.

  • Trip Includes

    • 29 miles of river,
    • 2 days of whitewater rafting
    • 4 meals (LD/BL)
    • 1 night of camping (night during)
    • Raft 2 rivers: Middle Fork American (18 miles) & South Fork (11 miles)
    • Hot water showers, flush toilets, ping pong, volleyball, horseshoes
    • Wine-tasting during hors d’oeuvres
    • Professional fun guides & instruction, river equipment & shuttles
    • 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 am: Enjoy a hearty picnic lunch on the river.

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

      3:30-4:00 am: Arrive at your overnight riverfront campground.

      5:00 am: Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, camaraderie.

      6:00 pm: Dinner, dessert, campfire, more camaraderie.

      Whenever you want: Fall asleep under the stars, in your own tent or in rented tent.

      (Quiet hours start 10:00 pm)

      8:00AM: After having met your guides for this 2 Day Middle and South Fork American River Rafting Trip in the town of Auburn, we depart in the Mariah vehicles  for our Put-In. We descent down a deep and beautiful wilderness canyon to the Oxbow Reservoir Put-In, seeing pine forests and vistas seldom seen by others unless driving down to the river; or by goldminers, or by explorers.

      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 I this beautiful and isolated wilderness canyon.

      This 18 mile trip is a 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 3:30 – 4:30 PM. 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.

      Back at camp you may choose to shower, play volleyball, horseshoes, ping pong; walk our unique Nature Trail, sit by the river, read, relax, socialize with old and new friends or shop in the Mariah camp store for a souvenir t-shirt. Around 5:15 P.M., hors d’oeuvres are served and in the Beverage Garden a nice wine-tasting presentation is given by the staff. There is plenty of fruit juice and fresh water available, also. Please feel free to bring your own favorite beverages.

      The dinner bell rings about 6:00PM. BBQ steak and chicken, hearty salad, potatoes, garlic bread, coffee, tea, juice and water are served by your guides. Following dinner is the evening slide show, dessert, and campfire. Then it’s off to sleep under the stars or in one of the great Mariah tent-cabins available to rent.

    • Day 2

      8:00 am: The breakfast bell rings, calling you to breakfast.

      9:00 am: Promptly at 8AM 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.

      2:30-3:00 pm: Depart for your next destination.

      The day begins at 8:00AM with a delicious breakfast, usually pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, cereal, juice, fresh coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. However, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are ready by 7:30AM in Mariah’s unique Coffee Corner.

      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 travelled 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 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 2:30-3:00PM.

    • 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 include deluxe cots, foam pads and deck chairs.Each houses between 2-5 persons with cots, foam pads and deck chairs.
    • 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 PM. Our Camp Hostess 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/ess will be on duty from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM; however, you may come after 9:00 PM, 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/ess 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.