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American River Rafting
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North Fork American - 1 Day Trip

North Fork American - 1 Day Trip


This is a great trip for experienced paddlers looking for a truly unique and exciting rafting experience! The North Fork's season is during the spring time only so make sure you can go from late April until mid June.

This is a totally natural runoff river, there are no dams upstream. The result of this is truly oustanding water quality. You can almost see to the bottom of every pool and the water is crystal clear. Due to the travertine canyon, the river has a green hue to it. The combination of this and perhaps the most spectacular scenery in California makes the North Fork American a must-do classic.

Besides the beauty of the river, the rapids are impressive as well. Short but full of action, the first 2 miles of this river will leave you breathless. Luckily we pull over and eat lunch so we can rest. After lunch the river mellows out but is still fun all the way to take out.

Wet suits are mandatory for this river so make sure you sign up for them when you book the trip or bring your own. Don't forget the booties as well.

We conduct trips on the North Fork for groups of 6 or more persons only on a private charter basis. This allows you to experience this special place with your group. We don't add additional persons to your trip. Contact us to put your trip together!


Meet behind Raleys supermarket in Auburn - 8:30AM*
Note - our meeting times can change on any date, we will notify you of the actual time when you reserve your trip.

8:30AM - Once all guests have arrived we will depart for a 1 hour van ride to the remote North Fork put-in. Please make sure you have eaten breakfast and are in your river attire before you check-in.

9:00AM - 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

10:00AM - Rafts will lauch. The action starts right away as we disappear around the bend and into several class 3 and 4 rapids. "Chamberlain Falls" is the highlight 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!

12:00PM - After we float through a 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 and lemonade are provided.

2:30PM - Takeout. 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 45 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!

4:00PM - We arrive back to Raleys. You may purchase a photo online of your great shots of the fabulous North Fork of the American River!


View Map to Raley's - Auburn

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 North Fork American rafting tour?

California has rafting nearly year round but the North Fork American River runs best in the Spring from April through mie June. We offer trips Monday through Friday. If you are looking for a good class 4 river to raft on a spring weekend try the North Fork Yuba.

  • 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?

Yes.  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 North Fork American River run?

We run trips on weekdays from April through May on the North Fork. Space is very limited since we can only take 12 persons per trip.

  • 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.

  • 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 North 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
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • T-shirts or rash-guard shirts
  • Dry clothes for after the river
  • WATER - in plastic bottles only.
  • Wet Suits - bring your own or rent them from us when you reserve your trip.

Please do not bring pets.

Camping & Lodging

Places to stay: Motels:

Places to stay: Inns:

Places to stay: Lake Tahoe

Things to do:

Trip Details

North Fork American - Class 4
Difficulty: 4
Minimum Age: 16 yrs

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Price: $159

Lunch is included

Big thanks to John, our guide for the afternoon south fork trip today. This was the first rafting trip for my wife and I and we will remember it for a long time to come. He was very nice, answered any and all questions we had during the trip and shared lots of great stories too.

I will definitely let anyone I know about your trips if they come out to the area. It was well worth the trip for us. This was one day of our week long trip to Lake Tahoe to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Thanks again.

July 2014, South Fork American - Afternoon trip