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South Fork American

Trip at a Glance

  • Locations

    Lotus, California, United States

  • Activities

    Adventure, Rafting

  • Price
    $296 USD per trip
  • Duration

    2 days and 2 nights

  • Avg Distance

    24 miles

  • Departure Day(s) and Time(s)

    Daily from April to September

  • Starting Location


  • Price Includes

    Professional river guides, equipment, camp host, camp cooks, camping site, 5 meals, transportation to the river and back once you arrive


  • Enjoy two days of rafting with two nights of camping right on the South Fork of the American River.
  • Relax at our own private camp area on the banks of the South Fork of the American river, with modern bathrooms and shower rooms.
  • See the amazing beauty of the region as you cover miles of the river.

Trip Info

How does this sound? Spend two days whitewater rafting, two nights of camping out and enjoy five gourmet meals, all at our own private campground right on the river. Well, this is what is in store for you on our two-day trip.

This is a 21-mile adventure that covers two days. We raft the lower Gorge section of the river the first day and the Upper Chili Bar section of the American River the second day. Arriving at our private riverside campground, the night before your trip, our dedicated camp host will escort you to your assigned camp area, show you the facilities and answer any questions that you might have about your American River rafting adventure.

On the morning of your trip, you will be served breakfast at 8:00 a.m. After breakfast, there is time to relax a little before checking in for the rafting part of your trip.

After a short bus ride to the launching area, your guides will help you with the required river gear and give you a river safety orientation. Then we split up into groups and push off onto the South Fork American River. The trip begins with some bouncy water to warm you up for the afternoon session of big rapids. We stop for lunch where your guides will prepare your riverside buffet lunch. Bathrooms are available during the break.

The afternoon section, called the Gorge Run, begins with some bouncy whitewater and even an out-of-boat experience through Swimmer’s Rapid. This is a fun, small wave train that leads to a huge pond to recover in. A fun way to cool off in the hot summer! Then the river builds and enters the Gorge, where the rapids come almost in non-stop fashion for six miles.

After finishing the Gorge, our bus will meet you with cold drinks and a snack for the 30-minute bus ride back to camp where you can clean up, relax a bit and get ready for a hearty BBQ dinner served by our camp cooks and your guides. After dinner, we will have dessert and a slideshow of you rafting through some of the big rapids of the day. Then, it is off to your camp area and a relaxing time by the campfire before turning in for the evening.

The next day again brings breakfast and a 30-minute ride up scenic Highway 49, the Gold Country Highway. We’ll pass by Coloma State Park, where James Marshall first discovered gold in 1848. Arriving at the launching area, we again give you a refresher on our river safety talk, board the rafts and tackle the Upper Section of the South Fork American river.

Just downstream is our first Class 3 rapid, Meatgrinder, the longest on the river. The morning session is packed with rapids that will challenge and thrill you. The last of the morning will be the famous Troublemaker Rapid. After Troublemaker, we will relax in a more mellow section for about an hour, then pull off at Coloma State Park. Your guides will prepare your buffet deli-style lunch with all the trimmings. Then, have a lazy float back down to camp to finish our journey on the South Fork American river.

At the end of the day, we will have cold drinks and snacks waiting for you at the meeting area, where again your guides will be there to thank you for coming and give you photo coupons, good for money off your rapid photo purchase.

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