Meet at our Coloma-based River Park Resort base camp on day one at 10 AM and begin your journey down the lower section of the South Fork American river with lunch served half-way down the trip. After your trip we will shuttle you back to camp where dinner is prepared while you relax at our beautiful, river-front campground.
Our second day of the trip takes place on the lower Middle Fork American River. We'll leave camp after a full breakfast. Plan to be off the river by 4:00PM.
Check in at River Park resort - 9:30AM Saturday, 11:00AM weekdays
9:30AM Our 2 day trips begin when you and your group checks in at River Park Resort. We include 1 night free camping if you would like to arrive the night prior to your trip. If this doesn't fit into your plans then you can arrive for your trip at 9:30AM on the morning of day 1 rafting. You'll have an hour to set up your camping equipment or to relax before the rafting trip begins.
10:30AM (Saturday)- After everyone is checked in our trip leader will begin a safety talk and orientation about the river. We'll then suit up and put in at our beach. The first 3 miles is a good warm-up of class 2 and 3 rapids.
11:00AM (Monday & Thursday)- On weekday trips we will eat lunch at camp prior to launching on the river. This is due to higher flows this year and the later release schedule during weekdays. Feel free to arrive early and enjoy our beautiful river resort prior to your trip.
12:30PM (Saturday) -We will pull over and have lunch at our riverside lunch spot. Lunch is a deli-style buffet with sandwiches, salad, dessert and drinks.
1:30PM - We get back on the river and look forward to the rapids of the amazing "lower gorge" section of the South Fork. This fantastic section of whitewater includes "Fowler's Rock", "Satan's Cesspool", "Upper and Lower Haystacks" and "Hospital Bar" along with other class 3+ rapids. Photos of your raft will be taken at several of these fun rapids.
4:30PM -At the end of the trip we'll board the shuttle bus at Folsom Lake and ride back to camp. When we arrive at camp you can enjoy a cold beer or other beverage at our daily "Happy Hour" and then check-out your photos from the "gorge".
7:00PM Dinner will be served by our staff on our outdoor dining patio at 7:00PM. Dinner features Bar be cue tri-tip beef, grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, salads and deserts. We also include a reasonable amount of beer and wine with your dinner for adults. Non alcoholic drinks are available as well. After dinner you can relax at camp, sit by the campfire, or play games in our game room.
7:00 AM A full breakfast is served at our dining patio, you will be amazed that you can eat another full meal but your body will need the energy for the rafting that is on the menu for the day!
8:00 AM Our shuttle bus will depart from camp for the Middle Fork American put-in.
9:00 - 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
5:00 PM - We arrive back at camp. You may purchase a photo online of your great shots at "Tunnel Chute" and the fabulous Middle Fork of the American River!
Driving Directions to River Park Resort: Our meeting place for all South Fork American River trips.
Our resort (River Park Resort) is located in Coloma CA at the end of River Park Dr. (located just north of the highway 49/ South Fork American bridge).
Coloma is located between Placerville and Auburn on highway 49. Driving time is 2.5 hours from SF, 8 hours from LA. There are several other rafting companies in Coloma so make sure you follow the directions below to our camp at River Park Resort. If you get lost or you are running late please call us directly at River Park Resort - 530-622-0553
Driving from Sacramento: Take highway 50 east from Sacramento to the Ponderosa Road/ Shingle Springs exit - EXIT NUMBER 37. (You will be following signs to Coloma). At the end of the ramp, turn left, and go over the highway. There are two stoplights immediately after the overpass, take a right turn at the second stop light (North Shingle Road). Take North Shingle Road approx. 4 miles until it becomes Lotus Road. Take Lotus road until it stops at highway 49, turn left. Go over bridge and turn left on River Park Dr., there is a left-hand turning lane just after the bridge. There is also a Pizza place here. Follow River Park drive to the left and into our resort. Our Resort is marked by a large brown "River Park Resort" and "Beyond Limits Adventures" sign.
Driving from South shore Lake Tahoe: Take highway 50 west until Placerville. Take the highway 49 (Spring Street) exit, right, off of highway. Follow highway 49 north until you reach Coloma. At the left hand turning lane just past the highway 49 bridge over the river, turn left onto River Park Drive. There is a Pizza place here. Follow River Park Drive into our resort - River Park Resort.
Driving from Reno or North Lake Tahoe: Take highway 80 west to Auburn. Take highway 49 south about 25 minutes to Coloma. This is a windy Road so take your time and closely follow the highway 49 signs so you stay on course. Just before you cross the main bridge over the river in Coloma turn right onto River Park Drive. Follow this into our resort - River Park Resort.
Driving from San Francisco Bay Area: Take I-80 East to Sacramento, take highway 50 east and follow the directions from Sacramento above.
Driving from Los Angeles or San Diego: Take I-5 North to Sacramento, take highway 50 east and follow the direction from Sacramento above.
Please arrive on time for your trip:
It is a good idea to arrive at least 15 minutes before your trip departure time to allow yourself time to check-in, use our restrooms and change into your river attire. Each trip has a designated departure time, make sure you know the time and plan to arrive before it. It is better to be early than late. We do not hold up trips for late arrivers.
- 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.
For your river trip, we recommend the following items:
2 Day Trip:
- Swimsuit/ shorts
- Tennis shoes, sports sandals or wetsuit booties
- T-shirts or rash-guard shirts
- Dry clothes for after the river
Camping portion of trip:
- sleeping bag
- personal toiletries
Please do not bring pets.
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