California Rafting – Intermediate-Adventurous First-Timers

These Intermediate / Adventurous California & American River rafting trips are suitable for families with active teens & first time adventurous groups  with swimming abilities. They are primarily Class 3-4 river trips.

This is a good level for groups like adventure scouts, and some corporate and bachelor / bachelorette parties. Also good for those with previous Class 3 experience looking for a bit more excitement. Minimum age is 13 years old for kids (possibly 12 with previous Class 3 experience).

If you are not too sure about being ready for Class 4, the American River 2 & 3 day combo trips are great choices. These allow you to warm up on Class 3 the first day so you will be more prepared for the Class 4 rapids on the 2nd day. You can ask your river guide after the first day if you have any concerns. 

Good swimming skills are required to participate in most of these trips. Your Personal Flotation Device (PFD aka: Life Jacket) will assist help you stay afloat, but it will not necessarily save your life. So this level of rafting requires that you can take some personal action if you fall in the river. For example, you may have to swim in faster moving water to avoid some danger. You will be pulled back into the raft very quickly in most situations, but that is not always the case. Your mental attitude can be as important as your swimming skills. If you think you might panic if you fall in, then consider an easier trip. 

Some people may be better picking a Class 3 trip when river levels are higher (usually due to a large snow pack). These trips will certainly be more challenging when the river is 2-3 times its normal flow. Be sure to ask for our advice on what the expected conditions are when you plan on rafting. 

See below for the trips that fall into this Intermediate / Adventurous category. If you have kids under 13 years and anyone who is not a reasonable swimmer, then see easy beginner trips. If everyone has previously rafted, are strong swimmers and looking for even more excitement then see intermediate/more difficult trips.

California Rafting – Intermediate-Adventurous First-Timers Options

Class 4 Summer Action! Swimming skills required.

Difficulty: Adventurous Beginner to Intermediate
Rating: Class 3-4+
Minimum Age: 13 years
Length: 17 miles
Time: 8:30am - 5:00/5:30pm
Price: $129-$169

Lunch included, camping available nearby

The Middle Fork American River is a great trip for the active and adventurous rafter (first timers OK) as long as you have good swimming ability. It’s a long but satisfying day that begins with an early rendezvous. Make sure …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

Summer Class 4 Wilderness Overnight!

Difficulty: Adventurous Beginner to Intermediate
Rating: Class 2-4+
Minimum Age: 13 years
Length: 17 miles
Time: 8:00am day 1 - 4:30pm day 2
Price: $369

4 meals and 1 night camping included.

This Middle Fork American River 2 day rafting trip is great for any group looking for remote, secluded overnight camping location. On most river trips, the camping is walk-in or drive-in accessible. On this trip, all the gear is taken …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

Great overnight for active and adventurous. Swimming ability required

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
Rating: Class 2-4+
Minimum Age: 12-13 years
Length: 30 miles
Time: 10:30am day 1 - 4:30/5:00pm day 2
Price: $299-$349

4 meals and 1 night camping included.

This South Fork / Middle Fork American River Rafting combo overnight trip is an ideal rafting trip for those wanting to warm up on some Class 3 rapids, before stepping up to the more exciting Class 4 action on the …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

Our guides favorite spring trip!

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Rating: Class 4-4+
Minimum Age: 13 years (normal flows)
Length: 9 miles
Time: 9:30am – 3:30/4:00pm
Price: Starting at $139

Lunch included. Strong swimming skills required especially during higher flows. Wetsuits and camping available nearby. Season varies depending on snow pack.

The North Fork Yuba River Maytag run can be suitable for the active and adventurous first-timer when flows are not too high. It also provides an ideal step-up for the Class 3 paddler or for a first-time Class 4 run. …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

2 day Class 4 Action on the Yuba!

Difficulty: Adventurous Beginner to Intermediate
Rating: Class 4
Minimum Age: 13 years (normal flows)
Length: 17 miles
Time: 9:30am day 1 – 4:00 pm day 2
Price: Starting at $369

4 meals and 1 night camping included. Good swimming skills required. Wetsuits and additional nights camping available. Season varies depending on snow pack.

This North Fork Yuba River Maytag & Bullards Bar 2 day raft trip combines 2 great Class 4 runs. Camping is at our exclusive, private campsite area near Indian Valley campground, nestled among the pines and firs of the Tahoe …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

Adventurous Spring Overnight! Strong swimming skills required.

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Rating: Class 3-4+
Minimum Age: 13-16 years
Length: 22 miles
Time: 10:30am day 1 - 4:30/5:00pm day 2
Price: Starting at $319

4 meals and 1 night camping included.

This early season South Fork / North Fork American River Rafting trip is an ideal choice for those wanting to warm up on some Class 3 rapids, before stepping up to some exciting Class 4 action on the 2nd day. …[ FIND OUT MORE ]

Continuous Class 3 rapids!

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
Rating: Class 3+
Minimum Age: 10 years
Length: 14 miles
Time: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Price: Starting at $149

Includes lunch, wetsuits available.

The Upper Sacramento River trips are a spring and early summer rafting adventure above Shasta Lake, with continuous Class 3+ rapids. We meet at Sims Flat Campground and put-in at the same location. Rapids are frequent and fun, with the …[ FIND OUT MORE ]