Big Rapids & Wilderness Camping on the American River

Meet Raft California in the heart of Gold Country for a 2 day / 2 night rafting & camping vacation on the Middle Fork American River. The Class 4 action starts early on the first day of rafting as you will encounter the biggest and longest Class 4+ “Tunnel Chute”. We stop to scout this iconic rapid which was created during the California Gold Rush by miners who blasted thru the river rock in the search for gold. The Tunnel creates a unique experience to guests to raft thru a tunnel (only one of 6 in the world!).

There is no road access between the put in (Oxbow Reservoir) and the take out (Ruck-A-Chucky Campground) so the really great thing about this trip is the beauty and solitude of the canyon – no cars, no traffic, no wi-fi … and no worries! We’ll be rowing all your gear down the river and you’ll get that all-to-rare chance to escape from everyday life. We will take the extra time we have on this 18 mile section of river to explore side creeks to waterfalls and natural wonders. This is a true wilderness adventure!

The minimum age for this journey is 13-14 as we want to make sure everyone is strong enough to paddle the big rapids and will have a fun experience. Rafts can fit up to 6 guests and groups of 8-12 are ideal.

Arrive the evening before the rafting begins at our private South Fork American River Campground. There are several restaurants if you are passing thru Auburn or Placerville, as well as a few tasty local places within 2 miles of camp. Dinner is not included for this first evening. We suggest renting one of our Canvas Tents, the first day of rafting is an early one and if you set up your own tent, you will need to break that down by 7am.

The following morning you awake to the sound of the river and the nature around you. There are coffee, teas, and beverages are available in the kitchen shortly after sunrise followed by a continental breakfast. We board our vans and head to the river about an hour drive thru Foresthill. At the river launching site, your guides will present orientation and safety information and you will receive your river gear including a paddle, a helmet and a life jacket.

We will launch our boats, practice paddling skills with our guides, and head for the excitement and fun of the Tunnel Chute and Kanaka Falls! We stop along the way for lunch as well as side hikes up creeks to secluded waterfalls. Upon arrival at our wilderness camp there is time to enjoy the peace of the remote canyon, fishing, more exploration and fun. Your guides will prepare appetizers and a moderate amount of beer and wine is provided followed by a delicious dinner. We will include a campfire if permitted by State Parks.
The next day, after a leisurely riverside breakfast we continue our run with more big rapids like Chunder and Parallel Parking. Again we will stop for a riverside lunch, or may stay in camp in the morning waiting for the water to rise and have lunch there too. We will arrive at the take out where our shuttle vehicle will greet us at take-out for the ride back to the South Fork American River camp. You are welcome to use the showers before heading home, an additional nights stay at the campground the night after is also available for a fee.