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American River Rafting
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South Fork American - Chili Bar Express Trip

South Fork American - Chili Bar Express Trip


Special deal for 2018! $69 per person weekdays and $80 per person weekends.
Book your trip online and get this discounted rate. (Regular price is $124 per person)

The Upper Chili Bar section is a fun Class 3 run with over 10 major rapids. Its course will take you through the small mining town of Coloma, where James Marshall first discovered gold at Sutters Mill and changed the course of California history. Calm sections are interspersed with rapids and the excitement comes to a head towards the end of this 8 mile run with a major rapid known as "Troublemaker".

This river is excellent for either the veteran or novice. The flows on the South Fork American River are the most dependable in the state, with guaranteed recreational releases for the next 50 years.

If you are looking to try your first rafting trip, or if you are a rafting pro, you can't go wrong with the Chili Bar section of the South Fork American.

Trip meets at 10:00AM at Chili Bar Put-in, CA. Plan to be back to your car by 2:00PM

A complimentary chili dog lunch is served after the rafting portion of the trip.



Trip meets at Chili Bar Put In at 10:00AM

10:00AM - Trip check in begins at Chili Bar Put In. Simply tell the parking attendant that you are rafting with Beyond Limits, and you will be directed to our parking area. You may be charged a $3.00 parking fee on certain days. Please have your river attire on when you arrive as there are no dressing rooms at our meeting area, and only Porta Potties are available to use.

10:15AM - After all participants have checked in, we will fit you for lifejackets and other river gear, as needed. We do not recommend that you bring valuable items with you on the trip. You may bring your wallets, car keys, and cell phones to place in dry boxes which will be transported to our take-out and available for you to pick up during lunch. 

10:20AM -  Our trip leader will give a river orientation and safety talk. Paddling techniques and helpful rafting tips are the topics of discussion. When everyone is up to speed on trip safety, you'll board the rafts and head downstream with your guide. The action starts right away on the Upper section of the South Fork. Within 1 mile, we'll be running a long, technical rapid known as "Meatgrinder". After this, the rapids come in quick succession with "Racehorse Bend" and "Triple Threat" providing the thrills. The last Big Rapid of the trip is the grand daddy of them all... "Troublemaker". Regarded by many as the highlight of the trip, "Troublemaker" is your chance for excitement, so make sure you are smiling through this rapid for some great photo opportunities!

1:00PM - We arrive back at River Park Resort where a BBQ chili dog lunch will be served. At the resort, you may view and purchase your fun rafting photos. Cold beer, wine and other beverages are available for purchase in our river store and outdoor patio bar. Enjoy the setting, relax and share your stories about your excellent rafting trip!

1:30PM - Our shuttle bus will depart to take you back to your cars. This ride takes about 30 minutes.

2:00PM - Arrive back to your car at Chili Bar Put In, and have a safe drive home!
















This trip meets and checks in at the Chili Bar Put In located at:

Chili Bar Put In

1669 Chili Bar Ct

Placerville, CA 95667




Driving from Sacramento, CA: ~1 hour

Take US Highway 50 East into Placerville, CA. At the stoplight, turn LEFT onto Spring Street.

Continue to the first stop sign, and turn LEFT onto CA Highway 49 North.

Continue for 0.6 miles on CA-49N, and veer RIGHT onto CA Highway 193 West. There will be a sign to Georgetown.

Stay on the steep and windy CA-193W for 2.3 miles until you cross the bridge over the American River, and turn LEFT onto Chili Bar Ct/Chili Bar Ln.


Driving from South Lake Tahoe, CA: ~1.5 hours

Take US Highway 50 West into Placerville, CA. At the stoplight, turn RIGHT onto Spring Street.

Continue to the first stop sign, and turn LEFT onto CA Highway 49 North.

Continue for 0.6 miles on CA-49N, and veer RIGHT onto CA Highway 193 West. There will be a sign to Georgetown.

Stay on the steep and windy CA-193W for 2.3 miles until you cross the bridge over the American River, and turn LEFT onto Chili Bar Ct/Chili Bar Ln.






  • When is the best time of the year to raft the South Fork American River?

California has rafting nearly year round but the most popular time to go is April through July for high water and maximum excitement. July through October still has plenty of action due to dam released water. Early season has great whitewater and we have discounts for April and May trips. Look here for information.

  • Do I have to know how to swim well?

Due to higher water levels this summer, we recommend all participants have basic swimming abilities. If you are not a strong swimmer, consider booking a trip in mid to later August, when water levels will be lower again.

  • Will I need a wetsuit?

If you raft during high water (spring season) you will need a wetsuit whether you rent one from us or provide your own. Summer rafting on the South Fork American River 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 wetsuit booties for extra warmth.

For camping trips bring all the camping equipment you need (even the kitchen sink if required) since all of our 2 day trips operate from a base camp where you can drive in. We have lists of equipment recommended for all trips. Do not bring pets to any of our trips.

  • What if I am a vegetarian

    All our meals are buffet style with plenty of non-meat items available to you. If you have other dietary restrictions please call us before your trip.

  • How often do trips run?

We run trips seven days a week from April through October. There are certain days in early and late season during the week that we may not have trips scheduled but can run a trip if you have at least 4 persons. Plan your trip as far in advance as possible and this will give you more options for trip dates if you have a group since most of our popular dates book well in advance.

  • 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 that is listed for each river. 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)?

Yes. On a two day trip on the South Fork American we can run a split trip where a different parent stays in camp during each day. We can also take kids as young as 5 on the Lotus section of the South Fork.


What to Bring

What to bring:

For your river trip, we recommend the following items:

  • Swimsuit/shorts
  • Tennis shoes, sports sandals or wetsuit booties
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • T-shirts or rash-guard shirts
  • Dry clothes for your ride home (you can leave these dry items in your car)
  • $3.00 parking fee
  • Cash if you would like to tip your guide

Please do not bring pets or valuable items.

We will provide a dry box for your wallets, car keys and cell phones.

Camping & Lodging

Places to stay: Motels:

Places to stay: Inns:

Places to stay: Lake Tahoe


Things to do:


Trip Details

Chili Bar Express
Trip Length: 1 Day
Difficulty: 3
Minimum Age: 7 yrs

Make Reservation Now!
View Available Dates!

Price: $69 - $80

Chili Dog lunch is provided at take-out

South Fork American
River Map


“Fantastic facility and guides”

We had a group of 13 people rafting and camping and Beyond Limits was so accommodating. Most of the people had been rafting before but a few people hadn't and were a bit nervous. Each guide was great at making the trip as mellow or 'adventurous' to fit the different groups in the rafts. Everyone had a great time and people that had been rafting before with other outfitters said this one was the most fun. It was great to see both Scott and Chris, who had guided us previously a couple years ago.
What set the trip apart was the campground and services available. There are flush toilets and hot showers available. The tent site was right by the river on a flat grassy area with swimming and some fishing available. Most impressively the dinner and hot breakfast were delicious. The staff literally work all day and most of the night to prep, guide, cook and clean. It took a lot of the hassle away that usually comes with organizing a group trip.

June 2015, South Fork American - 1 Day Trip