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

2 Day South and North Fork American River Rafting Trip

2 Day South and North Fork American River Rafting Tripr

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Departures: Saturday, Monday, Thursday. April through mid-June, depending on water flow

SATURDAY MEET TIME: 9:00am-3:00pm

Trip Difficulty: Beginner Class II-V

Who Should Go: Intermediate & experienced, Ages 14-97

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

Price Range:

    • Adult: $329
    • Youth: $314
    • Adult: $299
    • Youth: $284
      plus 8% River Use Fee

Not Included: 8% River Use Fee, gratuities

Available to Rent: Wetsuits are required, Tents, sleeping bags & pads


This 2 Day South & North Fork American River Rafting Trip warms you up on the South Fork and then takes you to the Class IV-V North Fork American River. This Rafting Trip is perfect for those of you looking for both intermediate and advanced rapids. Located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, the Class II-III South Fork of the American River is the most popular river in California. The Class IV-V North Fork is one of the more advanced raftable rivers 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. The additional camping and meals are for a small add-on price.

  • Trip Includes

    • LENGTH OF RIVERS: 20 miles of river
      • First Day:  11 miles, Mariah camp to Salmon Falls Bridge, South Fork American River
      • Second Day: 9 miles, Iowa Hill Bridge to Ponderosa Way Bridge, North Fork American River
    • TIME ON RIVER: 2 days of whitewater rafting
      • First Day: 3.3 hours plus 45 minutes for lunch, South Fork
      • Second Day: 6 hours including picnic lunch, North Fork
    • MEALS: 4 meals (Day 1: lunch, dinner. Day 2: breakfast, lunch)
    • CAMPING: 1 night of camping (night during)
    • AMENITIES: hot water showers, flush toilets, ping pong, volleyball, horseshoes, Wine-tasting during hors d’oeuvres
    • GUIDES & EQUIPMENT: Professional fun guides & instruction, river equipment & river shuttles
    • Day 1

      10:00-10:45 AM: Meet, greet, and sign in with your head guide.

      11:00-11:30 AM: Launch your boats and begin 3 miles of Class II rapids.

      12:00-12:30 PM: Picnic lunch on banks of the river.

      1:00 PM: Continue downriver, enter a narrow canyon with more Class II rapids.

      1:30-2:00 PM: Enter the “Gorge” with lots of Class III rapids!

      3:00-3:30 PM: Arrive at the Salmon Falls Take-Out. Bus ride back to camp.

      3:30 PM: Set up camp, shower, relax, play.

      5:15 PM: Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine-tasting, camaraderie.

      6:00 PM: Dinner, slide show, dessert, campfire, more camaraderie.

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

      (Quiet hours start 10:00pm).

      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 on your 2 Day South Fork and North Fork American River Rafting Trip. 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.

      Before lunch we get to float about 3-4 miles on slow current, swim an easy rapid (if you want to), practice our steerage maneuvers, get wet, learn how to paddle as a team, and learn how to laugh, raft down a “water slide”, see gorgeous countryside with thousands of trees and plants on both sides of the river, and lots of birds. Your guide will have lots of tales to share.

      We arrive at our private lunch site on the river; we are hungry and happy.

      After lunch we board our boats and float 2 miles of Class II rapids in beautiful canyon settings. We then enter the “Gorge” where we’ll tackle many fun and challenging class III rapids like Satan’s Cesspool, Hospital Bar and Recovery Room. All the whitewater, the excitement, and your smiles are captured by our kayaking-photographers as they take the best shots for viewing back at camp. After the last rapid we will get a motorized tow to our take-out at Salmon Falls on Lake Folsom, load the boats onto our trailers, grab a cold water, and board Mariah’s vehicles for a relaxing 30-minute drive back to camp.

      NOTE REGARDING LUNCH: Sometimes we have our lunch at the Mariah Campground, and launch our boats after lunch. Usually it is in the later part of the season, mid-August, during the middle of the week. The reason is the water is released from the Chili Bar Dam later than normal due to agricultural and electrical needs, and we want to wait until the water-release reaches our campground before we launch our boats.

      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 5:15pm, 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: (time varies depending on water conditions): The breakfast bell rings.

      9:00 AM: Promptly at 9AM we board our river vehicles for the 45-minute drive to the North Fork.

      10:00 AM: Launch your boats at the Iowa Hill Bridge Put-In and begin 9 miles of Class III-IV+ rapids.

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

      After lunch we will enjoy the challenges of this advanced-level river.

      2:30-3:00 PM: Take-Out at Ponderosa Way Bridge, board Mariah vehicles, and drive back to the South Fork Campground.

      3:30 PM: You will have time to take a shower, purchase a t-shirt or photo of you rafting, and say goodbye to your new friends, before departing for home.

      The day begins at 7:00-8:00am(depending on our North Fork Put-In Time) with a delicious breakfast.

      By 8:45am (depending on our North Fork Put-In Time) we have boarded our Mariah vehicles for the one-hour drive to the North Fork Put-in. Once we start our descent down to the Iowa Hill Put-In, we will drive through a beautiful, and isolated section of the canyon.

      10:00 am (Depending on launch time)- START RAFTING

      You already know your guide, and you are already an accomplished paddler, so we will launch into the current. The first 5 miles are non-stop Class IV rapids. Slaughter’s Sluice, Chamberlain Falls, Tongue and Groove, Bogus Thunder, and Staircase just a few of the names of the class IV-IV+ rapids you will hear your guides talking about.

      About noon, you will be very hungry, so we will beach the boats and enjoy a hearty lunch. Lunch includes a variety of deli meats, cheeses, breads, condiments, vegetables, fruit, chips, cookies, lemonade, and water.

      After lunch we re-board our rafts, paddle through a few more Class IV rapids, and then enter the more mellow stretch of river. You can now truly enjoy the spectacular scenery, and talk non-stop about your spectacular runs!


      We should be at Ponderosa Way Bridge take-out about 3:00pm (depending on our launch time put-in). 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.

      Once back at camp, you can take a shower, purchase a souvenir t-shirt, hug your guide a fond farewell, and depart between 3-4pm (again, depends on launch time) with pleasant memories of a wonderful rafting adventure.


    • 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

      2 Day South and North Fork American River Rafting Trip

    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.