Whitewater River RaftingNews & Blog

High Water South Fork American River Rafting Trips

Whitewater rafting trips on the South Fork American River have begun! Flows on the South Fork have been running higher than normal – much like what we saw in the 2011, 2017 & 2019 spring rafting seasons. At these flows, the river changes, and features that we don’t usually see including long wave trains and new rapids appear! Unlike some of our other river trips, the South Fork American trips are runnable at a wide range of flows, so although they are higher & faster, we run safe trips by adjusting age requirements and swimming skills. We also have alternative trips to offer like the Lower Middle Fork American River for younger kids.

Coming out of several years of drought the current Winter Snowpack Conditions are very exciting for us  and we look forward to sharing this fun experience with our clients! Swimming abilities are not required for all participants at higher flows, but recommended. Participants should be in good shape and comfortable around swift moving water. 

Top 5 reasons to come raft the South Fork American River in April!

  1. Fun, fast and splashy trips
  2. Experience new features at these flows
  3. Free wetsuits & spring gear (save $20)
  4. Wildflowers blooming now in the Coloma / Lotus valley
  5. Glamping available at our South Fork Campground

1/2 Day Afternoon South Fork American River Trip  

The South Fork American River Gorge Trips are offered in the afternoon (at the warmest time of day) and great for those with limited time. 

1 Day Full River Chili Bar & Gorge 

This spring the 21 mile 1 day trip is by far the most popular! This all day trip meets at 8:00am in Lotus, CA and gives you both the Upper Chili Bar and the Lower Gorge featuring all the best rapids like Troublemaker, Satan’s Cesspool, and Hospital bar! Riverside lunch is included.

Glamping on the South Fork American River

The South Fork American River rafting trips meet at our campground in Lotus, CA. YES – we also offer camping! Add a night or 2 at our private riverside camp with lots of amenities including showers, toilets and Canvas Tent Rentals for a little glamping getaway

Add your glamping tent rental to your reservation when booking online or give us a call.

Alternate Rafting Trips for Younger Kids

Trips on the South Fork American River are usually Class III, but at higher flows, rapids may be considered Class IV. Kids ages 10+ with swimming abilities and adventurous spirits are welcomed and OK at higher flows. This age may be increased to 14 years. This isn’t our first high water rafting season on the South Fork American River, and we are able run safe and fun trips for most younger kids on the Lower Middle Fork American River. The Lower Middle is usually a Class II rafting trip, this river is also flowing higher and faster and rapids fall into the Class III range. We suggest this trip for kids ages 7+ until flows normalize. 

We are happy to help guide you to the best rafting trip for your family or youth group please Contact Us with any questions or concerns. 

Regular summer flows on the South Fork American River will most likely return for July and August.

Need help planning your trip?

We know this information can be overwhelming, and we are here to help! You can use our choosing your trip page to help guide you on your own time, or fill out our contact us form to and we will be able to suggest a river experience to suit you best!