California Whitewater Rafting Trips near San Francisco and Lake Tahoe
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions Official Logo

Half Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Gorge

Half Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Gorge

Half Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Gorge

Are you ready to go rafting? Get started and click on the Book Now button!

or Call

Departures: Daily, May through mid-September, 12:00pm-4:00pm

Trip Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate, 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: $119
    Youth: $109
  • MIDWEEK: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
    Adult: $99
    Youth: $89
    1/2 Day Gorge
    Saturday, September 3: $70.00
    Sunday, September 4: $65.00
    Monday, September 5: $60.00

  • 8% River Use Fee is included in the Labor Day Splash prices.
  • Group rates are available.

Not Included: 8% River Use Fee, gratuities, meals, camping

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


Located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe near the town of Coloma, California, the Class II-III South Fork of the American River is the most popular river in California.

This Half Day, afternoon trip, on the South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Gorge section is perfect for those of you looking for just an afternoon on the river. Our meet time is 12:00pm so you can sleep in and still have time to drive the 2.5 hours from San Francisco, or the 4 hours from Yosemite.

If you are looking to extend your Half Day South Fork American River Rafting Trip-Gorge adventure, please consider camping with us after your trip. If we already have a dinner on the schedule you are welcome to join us. The additional camping and meals are for a small add-on price.

Download: South Fork The Gorge 1/2-Day Rafting Trip DIRECTIONS and PACKING LIST.

  • Trip Includes

    • LENGTH OF RIVER: 11 miles of river, Mariah Camp to Salmon Falls Bridge; fun, safe whitewater rafting
    • TIME ON RIVER: 3.5 hours
    • MEALS: no meals
    • AMENITIES: Hot water showers, flush toilets, ping pong, volleyball, horseshoes
    • GUIDES & EQUIPMENT: Professional fun guides & instruction, river equipment & river shuttles
    • Day 1

      1:00 PM: Meet, greet, and sign in with your head guide.

      1:30 PM: Launch your boats and begin 5 miles of Class II rapids, also enjoying rolling hills, and then a narrow canyon with high rock walls for more Class II-III rapids.

      3:00 PM: Enter the “Gorge” with lots of Class III rapids!

      4:00-4:30 PM: Take-Out just beyond the Salmon Falls Bridge, at the Salmon Falls Take-Out. 20-minute shuttle ride back to the Mariah camp.

      4:30-5:00 PM: You are ready to 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.

      Once we launch our boats 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 for you bird-watchers. Your guide will have lots of tales to share.

      We soon 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 photographers as they take the best shots for your viewing after the trip. 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 20-minute drive back to camp.

      Back at camp you may choose to shower before leaving for home. You should be ready to depart exhilarated and refreshed for your next destination by 4:30-5:00pm.  You may want to stop in the Photographer’s shop to view and purchase your photos.

    • 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.