Rating: Class 2-2+ (some 3 at higher flows)
Minimum Age: 5+ years (higher age at high flows)
Length: 16.5 miles
Time: 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 1:30pm meet on day 1 – 4:30pm day 2
Price: Starting at $249 [ VIEW PRICES ]
Includes 3 0r 4 meals and 1 night camping. Inflatable Kayaks possible lower flows.
[ AREA INFORMATION ] Motels, Camping, Restaurants & More
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This is a spectacular spring family rafting overnight trip, suitable for younger kids. Availability of both rivers makes it a rarely run trip, but it can be available in seasons where higher water flows occur due to a large snow pack. Ideal when the South Fork American River flows require a higher minimum age.
Normally we meet for the Lower Middle Fork American River trip in the afternoon of day 1 after lunch. However in the spring we can meet earlier due to 24 hr water and offer a 1 day option with lunch. We transport you from Auburn for a short but interesting bumpy ride down into the Middle Fork American Canyon. You will get glimpses of the river far below as we descend. We unload the rafts at the put-in where you receive pre-trip instruction and board the rafts for a fun afternoon! A hike up the Western States Run trail to the impressive Ruck-a-Chucky falls is offered on the 1 day with on river lunch.
On the 1/2 day option, you are welcome to bring snacks for the kids to take on the rafts as there will be stops on the river. There are safe beach areas for picnicking and play, as well as side hikes up creeks into shady dells with waterfalls (seasonal). Very few people are seen on this trip, but we often see nesting ducks, deer, heron and fish jumping.
We usually return to Auburn around 6:00 p with the later start, but earlier start options available in the spring. On arrival back in Auburn, you head out as soon as possible for a 30 minute drive to our overnight camp in Lotus-Coloma. Dinner will be being prepared by other river guides and camp staff. Enjoy some appetizers, followed by a delicious 3 course dinner. This is accompanied with a moderate amount of beer, wine (excluded on youth group trips), and soft drinks.
You will spend the night at our exclusive camp site at Rivers Bend, which has flush toilets, hot showers, volleyball net and horseshoe pits. If you did not arrive the night before, you will transport your camping equipment from your car down the trail to the camp site, or if you rented equipment from us, the tents will be already erected for you! After dinner, you can relax around the camp fire and usually smores will be available too.
On the second day, awake to the sound of the river, the aroma of coffee brewing and breakfast being prepared by your amazing river guides. You will depart from camp by 10:00am and travel back through Auburn for the Lower North Fork American Rafting trip. Clients vehicles are left in Auburn, and we shuttle up I-80 east to Weimar (below Colfax). The put-in is located down a windy canyon road at the historic Yankee Jims Bridge (and popular swimming hole).
Some of the more exciting rapids are to be found in the first few miles with the Class 2 rapids named 1 ½ and 2 ½. Following this is rapid 3 ½ and Bend & Brake, which verge on class 3 at higher flows. About 4 miles from put-in, at the Ponderosa Bridge, most other rafters will be taking off the river as this is the end of the more difficult upstream Class 4 run. Soon after the bridge is a trail on river right that leads to some beautiful waterfalls for a possible side hike. The remaining section of river is even more remote, and you are officially deep into the wilderness of the Auburn State Recreation Area. Typically lunch will be served at Codfish Creek camp area, and below this we will encounter another couple of class 2 rapids.
We take out at the upper end of Lake Clementine. Refreshments are served and we shuttle back to the meeting location.