North Fork American River California Whitewater Rafting
The North Fork American River, Class IV, is an hour north of Sacramento on Interstate 80 on your way to Reno. The North Fork has some of the best technical whitewater rafting in California.
Plummeting out of the Desolation Valley basin near Lake Tahoe is the free-flowing North Fork of the American River with rock walls tower 2000′ to 4000′ above the river, creating a majestic backdrop for cascading waterfalls, brightly colored wildflowers, and the aquamarine waters of the North Fork itself. It is best known for its thrilling class IV and V whitewater, challenging hiking trails, outstanding fishing, abundant wildlife, and dramatic scenery. The upper stretch has a gradient drop of 50′ per mile through a narrow granite canyon with spectacular whitewater!
We offer two different types of trips on the North Fork of the American River: 1-Day and 2-Day Combo trips.
The Whitewater Rapids
Class IV+ The rapids on this river are for the rafter who has had some prior experience and is looking for big challenges.
The upper stretch has a gradient drop of 50′ per mile through a narrow granite canyon with spectacular whitewater! Chamberlain Falls is a thrilling drop that you will not soon forget!! At the put-in, the companies launch 15 minutes between each other, since right around the first bend is a big rapid! The entire 9 miles presents various challenges; there are a couple of rapids we scout by beaching the boats and walking within close view of the rapid. We are wanting to make sure there are no changes in the configuration of the rapid since the last time we ran it. Your guide will almost always explain to you the features of the rapid allowing you to feel confident, though quite excited, that you will successfully run it.
The Rafting Season
April through LATE MAY
Because the North Fork’s flow depends on snow melt and not dam-released water, this river does not have a dependable flow season. During years where there is a lot of snow and the water content in the snow is high we usually have an excellent spring rafting season, April through mid-June. However, because the area of the Sierras that this river depends on is at a lower elevation, our season is usually just in April and May, if that. So, stay alert and stay in touch with us!