Safe and Fun Whitewater Rafting
California whitewater rafting can be fun and exciting for a range of ages and skill levels. When choosing a commercial outfitter for your adventure, be sure to ask about guide experience and training levels, safety record and how long they have been in business. Even though you are hiring a commercial outfitter for your trip, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure your whitewater experience is both safe and fun.
American River Recreation has been taking guests down California Rivers for over 32 years. We pride ourselves on our state of the art equipment, safety procedures as well as our highly experienced guides.
All of our professional guides are First Aid and CPR certified. They have extensive experience on the water and have been fully trained on all aspects of each of our trips.
We use the highest quality inflatable river boats available. These state-of-the-art self-bailing rafts with inflatable floors are made from a very durable rubber called hypalon and perfect for river rafting in California. They consist of multiple air chambers, making them unsinkable. All of our boats are equipped with foot holds for your safety and comfort. Our life jackets are specially made for California rafting and are Coast Guard approved. We carry dry bags for your personal belongings, first-aid kits, boat repair kits, and an assortment of safety gear.
Rivers are classified by the degree of difficulty. Some rivers, such as the Merced and the Kaweah can vary in class depending on the time of year.
- Class I: No rapids, small waves, all ages and abilities.
- Class II: Small rapids, clear passages, some maneuvering required.
- Class III: Rapids are larger and longer than Class II, higher and more waves, irregular rocks, eddies, greater level of maneuvering required.
- Class IV: Rapids are generally longer, steeper and more heavily obstructed than class III rapids. Waves are powerful, irregular, dangerous rock, boiling eddies, expert maneuvering required.
- Class V: Exceedingly difficult, long and violent rapids, following each other almost without interruption. Large obstructions, drops and violent current with very steep gradients. Requires expert boater.
Skill and Ability
Choose a trip that best matches your skill and ability. The South Fork American is a Class II/III river and our most popular trip. It is a great selection for both beginners as well as return boaters. We happily accept rafters ages 7 to 75 for Class II and Class III trips. Be sure to discuss any specific needs or concerns when making your reservations.
Class II and III Rivers do not require helmets but are available by request. Be sure that helmets and life jackets fit properly and are correctly secured. If you happen to fall out of the boat; you may be picked up by the back of your life jacket, so be sure it fits!
For cooler weather; wetsuits may be required and can also be rented, wool clothing such as socks, hats and sweaters are great for rafting in the cold. Quick drying material is also good; rain jackets, polypro and nylon windbreakers are a great choice.
For warmer weather, swimsuits, shorts and a sun hat or visor and sun-block. Be sure to wear proper shoes; old tennis shoes or river sandals are best.
For either climate, it is a good idea to bring a change of clothes to leave in your car.
The Sacramento foothills are known to heat up in the summertime. Many don’t think about drinking water while in the water and it is very easy to get dehydrated. Be sure to hydrate before your trip; our guides can hold water bottles for you during your adventure and refreshments are provided at the end when we greet you.
Float feet forward
If you end up in the water, float with your feet forward and your head, back and toes above the water. Go with the current and never try to stand in fast moving water.
Listen to your Guide
Above all, listen to your guide and always follow their instructions. They have vast amounts of experience and are there to make sure you have a good time and keep you safe.
ARR trips are designed to be an enjoyable and memorable experience. Our guides are not only great in the water but have great knowledge of the history and environment of the rivers. They’re also known to whip up a pretty mean guacamole dip!