Middle Fork American - 1 Day Trip
The closest summertime Class IV rafting to the San Francisco Bay Area! The Middle Fork American River is tucked away from civilization in the Auburn State Recreation Area. This river offers the best Class IV wilderness rafting experience in the northern Sierra Nevada range. Ideal for adventurous first-time rafters in good physical condition as well as experienced whitewater veterans, the dam-controlled Middle Fork provides an exciting and absolutely beautiful day on the water.
The highlight of all 1-Day Middle Fork trips is a 100-foot-long plunge down the wild and crazy "Tunnel Chute" rapid. This 20-foot high drop comes early in the trip. It's a quick ride but the memories of running this thunderous drop last a life time.
Beyond Limits Adventures offers trips on the Middle American throughout the summer. The best time to experience the solitude of this canyon is during weekdays, you'll feel like you have the river to yourself. Our weekend spots fill fast. Check our Middle Fork calendar for available dates
All 1-Day Middle Fork trips meet behind Raleys supermarket in Auburn California. Our meeting time is 8:30AM. The trip lasts until 5:00PM.
Private charter trips
Our class 4 private charter trips are sold by the raft(s) and guarantee that no other individuals or groups will be sharing your trip. This is a perfect way for families, businesses and any group to keep your river experience and photos to yourselves. A minimum of 8 persons is required to book a private charter.
Meet behind Raleys supermarket in Auburn - 8:30AM
8:30AM - Once all guests have arrived we will depart for a 1 hour van ride to the remote Middle Fork put-in. Please make sure you have eaten breakfast and are in your river attire before you check-in.
10:00AM - After we arrive to put-in, your group will be given an orientation by our trip leader. Safety techniques and helpful hints are the main topics to be discussed. After the "safety talk" we will suit you up with your pfds (personal flotation devices), helmets and will hand out a paddle to each participant
10:30AM - Rafts will lauch at a dramatic setting, the outflow of the Oxbow Powerhouse. The action starts right away as we disappear around the bend and into several class 3 and 4 rapids. "Tunnel Chute Rapid" is the grande finale of this first section of rapids. Sit down, hold on and smile, you'll be photographed as you descend through this maelstrom of foam and rock!
1:00PM - After we float through a long scenic section with a few more class 4 rapids, we will stop for lunch on beautiful beach. Lunch features deli style meats and cheeses. Make your own sandwich and help yourself to plenty of fresh fruit, salads and desert. Water, lemonade and iced tea are provided.
2:00PM - Lower gorge section - Back on the river for a few more miles of relaxing water. We'll hear the roar far downstream of the "Ruck-a Chucky rapids". The first set of rapids can be rafted, then we'll pull over quickly for the main falls. As you walk around this impressive waterfall, your guides will take the boats through a side channel solo. After your short walk, we'll be back on the river for several more class 4 rapids.
4:00 PM - Takeout at Driver's Flat Road. Our shuttle bus will be waiting with a cooler full of cold refreshments when we arrive. After the gear is loaded we'll board the van for a 30 minute ride back to your car at Raleys. The shuttle road out of the deep is almost as exciting as the rafting trip you just did. Our drivers rate it a class 5!
4:30 PM - We arrive back to Raleys. You may purchase a photo online of your great shots at "Tunnel Chute" and the fabulous Middle Fork of the American River!
We meet our 1 day trips behind the Raleys supermarket in Auburn, CA. Take the Foresthill exit off of Interstate 80 and the Raley's supermarket is located on the northeast corner of the intersection. Driver behind the store and you will see a large parking lot which is specifically used for rafter's meeting their trips. You may purchase water and snacks at the Raleys if you arrive early.
- When is the best time of the year to go on a Middle Fork American rafting tour?
California has rafting nearly year round but the Middle Fork American River runs best in the Summer from June through September.
- Do I have to know how to swim well?
Yes, Class 4 water does require good swimming ability. A personal flotation device which we provide will keep you buoyant if you happen to swim from the raft. There are plenty of calm “recovery pools” to keep you from floating down river. Participants must be able to swim back to the raft or shore before the next rapid.
- Will I need a wetsuit?
If you raft during high water (spring through early summer). Summer rafting on class 4 rivers does not require a wetsuit. Contact us if you have questions.
- What should I bring?
You need to bring shorts, swim suit, t-shirt, foot protection (old tennis shoes, booties or sport sandals), and a dry set of clothes for your ride home.Everything that you wear will get wet so plan accordingly. Please do not bring valuable items (i.e. expensive clothes or shoes, jewelry, non-waterproof cameras or other items) on the raft. Under a wetsuit you will wear swimwear or insulated synthetic winter underwear (No COTTON) on cold spring days. On cold days wear wool socks and tennis shoes or booties for extra warmth.
For camping trips bring all the camping equipment you need (even the kitchen sink if required) since River Park Resort campground has drive-in camping. We have lists of equipment recommended for all trips on our "what to bring" page. Do not bring pets to any of our trips.
- What if I am a vegetarian?
There are several non meat items you can eat for lunch. We provide fresh salads, fruit and breads on our deli-style lunch.
- How often do trips on the Middle Fork American River run?
We run trips seven days a week from June through September on Middle Fork. Weekend space is very limited since we can only take 12 persons per trip. Our weekend trips book up months before the trip date. We usually have plenty of space on our weekday trips.
- How many people go with each trip?
During midweek we have smaller sized groups and the rivers are generally less crowded making the solitude of the trip much better than on weekends. On weekends we generally book out so we run the maximum group size. Sundays are sometimes less crowded than Saturdays. Early and late season are less busy than prime season.
- What if the weather is bad?
We will run in any condition of weather or may give everyone the option to take a rain-check credit if the weather is extremely unpleasant at the check-in point. After April, the weather is usually perfect for rafting.
- Can we request a guide?
If we have at least 2 weeks notice we will make every effort possible to schedule a guide that you enjoyed in the past.
- Is it appropriate to tip our guide after the trip?
Although a tip is not expected, if you feel your guide has done an exceptional job or gone that extra step to make your trip more enjoyable and memorable, a tip is a nice way to show your appreciation.
- Can we still raft if we have young children (under 7 years)?
Not on the Middle Fork of the American River. The minimum age is 14 years old. If you have young rafters your best choice by far is the South Fork of the American River.
What to Bring
For your river trip, we recommend the following items:
1 Day Trip:
- Swimsuit/ shorts
- Tennis shoes, sports sandals or wetsuit booties
- T-shirts or rash-guard shirts
- Dry clothes for after the river
- WATER - in plastic bottles only.
Please do not bring pets.
Camping & Lodging
Places to stay: Motels:
- Best Western - 530-622-9100
- Super 8 Cameron Park - 530-677-7177
- Days Inn - Placerville - 530-622-9100
- Residence Inn - Folsom - 916- 983-7289
- National 9 - 530-622-3124
- Courtyard by Marriott - Folsom
- Hilton Garden Inn - Folsom
Places to stay: Inns:
- Sierra Nevada House - Coloma 530-626-8096
- Coloma Country Inn - Coloma 530-622-6919
- Albert Shafsky House - Placerville 530-642-2776
- Glen Morey Country House - Placerville 530-306-3481
- Blair Sugar Pine B&B - Placerville 530-626-9006
- Casita Del Oro - Vacation rental in Lotus 530-621-3030
Places to stay: Lake Tahoe
- Lake Tahoe Visitor's Authority - General Information 1-800-AT-TAHOE
- Lake Tahoe Accommodations - Vacation rentals 1-800-250-8013
- The Block Hotel - Stateline 1-888-544-4055
- Horizon Casino Resort - Stateline 1-800-648-3322
- Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals
Things to do: