Are You Up To The North Fork Challenge?

Our advanced trips are full of adrenaline with continuous rapids and lots of excitement

The North Fork American River is a unique river that offers one of the most challenging and demanding rafting runs in all of Northern California. This experience is offered only for a limited time of the year, during the spring and early summer snowmelt and this river rafting trip is well worth the adrenaline rush. This natural, free-flowing river is ideal for very adventurous first timer’s guests and those with prior rafting experience. At higher flows, we require guests to have the ability to swim. Wetsuits are mandatory and if you don’t own your own we will provide them along with splash jackets at no cost.

North American River Rafting Logistics

Guests rafting with us over multiple days will travel from our rafting base in Coloma, California. Those doing a day trip have the option to meet in Auburn, California. Your journey begins with an ultra scenic shuttle ride to our launching point, where we start our river rafting trip in a beautiful steep walled canyon filled with California Gold Rush history . Once you arrive at the river put-in, rafting guests will be briefed by our expertly trained river guides, who will share safety procedures and paddling instructions before embarking on this thrilling rafting tour.

Almost immediately, rafts will navigate “Slaughter Sluice” a heart pounding rapid that plunges into a steep and narrow, polished granite gorge. Rafters will also be challenged with wild rapids such as “Chamberlain Falls,” “Bogus Thunder,” and “Staircase” along the way. Between some of the bigger named rapids, guests will experience some tight chutes, steep drops, and big waves in this fast-flowing obstacle course. Due to the nature of the river, don’t be surprised if your boat experiences a wrap or a flip as it is not a beginner run! At lunch, we’ll take a pause from the action, and guests will be invited to indulge in an appetizing deli-style buffet.

After a hearty lunch, we’ll ramp up the fun and continue our adventure. As the river eases up, there is a chance to catch your breath and take in the spectacular scenery that surrounds, including the area’s famous rock walls that can tower up to 4,000-feet above the beautifully colored water, all outlined with hills of verdure. Also, expect to see spring flora showing off its vibrance in this mostly untouched area, protected as Wild & Scenic.

This exciting rafting journey begins in a small town called Yankee Jims off Highway. During the California Gold Rush, Yankee Jims was one of the largest mining camps in Placer County, and complete with homes, a pharmacy, and even a large indoor/outdoor dance hall. The town’s name comes from an Australian criminal who stole horses and brought them back to this riverfront area before it was discovered that gold was abundant here. Now the town only consists of residential structures and has a population of 18 people.

After traveling an active and engaging 9-miles of Class IV+ excitement, our trip finishes in the Auburn State Recreation Area at the Ponderosa Bridge; a pony truss bridge built in 1935. Surely, the ride back will be spent reliving the moments and sharing experiences of close calls and times of elation; this also allows for time to start planning next year’s North Fork American rafting trip.

There are three major forks of the American River that span Placer County, El Dorado County, and Sacramento County. The North Fork American River is one of California’s major rivers and is the longest fork of the American River watershed, at a length of 88 miles. Water accumulates from snowmelt off the Northern slope of the Western Sierra Nevada Mountain Range near Granite Chief Peak of Tahoe National Forest. The North Fork travels in a Southwest direction, uninterrupted by man-made features for miles until it meets the North Fork Dam at Lake Clementine. From there the river passes under the Foresthill Bridge, California’s tallest bridge. The North and Middle Forks of the American River come together below Auburn and flow Folsom Lake, just east of Sacramento. The American River then feeds into the Sacramento River with the Sacramento Metropolitan Airport at it’s Eastbanks. The collective of water will eventually end up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the river is found on public land with the oversight of United States Forest Service, California State Parks and Bureau of Land Management. As many other recreational rivers in the United States, the American River benefits from the environmental advocacy of American Whitewater, a nonprofit with the mission, “to conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely”.

Guest who spend multiple days rafting with us stay at American River Resort, a beautiful campground with full hook-up RV sites, tent camp sites, deluxe cabins, and free hot showers. American River Resort sits on the South Fork American River and is rich in biodiversity. The area can be utilized for a variety of other recreational activities such as bird watching, hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, swimming, gold-panning and more. For a worry-free approach to camping, take part in dinners with other rafting guest and enjoy an amazing three course meal provided by resort staff.

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