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South Fork American River rafting--The absolute best river trip for first-timers and families with young kids

South Fork American River rafting

The South Fork of the American River flows down the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and offers a blend of relaxing calms and thrilling Class III rapids. This is the absolute best rafting run for beginning rafters!

South Fork Fun Run ½, 1 or 2-day rafting trip

  • Class III
  • 8-20 miles
  • ½, 1 or 2 days
  • Minimum age 7 (12 at high flows)
  • Meet time 9 or 10 am

Typical season:

April through September

2014 start dates:
Call booking office.

Expand pricing detail »

For South Fork information and to make reservations, call (800) 488-7238

For other general questions, call (800) 400-RAFT

Download ½-day (Chili Bar) trip packet (PDF)
Download 1-day (Gorge) trip packet (PDF)
Download 2-day trip packet (PDF)


South Fork American River rafting trip prices
½-day Express Trip Standard Groups > 12
Monday-Friday $109 $87.20
Saturday $129 $103.20
Sunday $119 $95.20
Subject to $8.00 River and Land Use Fee.
1-Day Fun Run Standard Groups > 12
Monday - Friday $125 $100
Saturday $145 $116
Sunday $135 $108
Subject to $8.00 River and Land Use Fee.
1-Day Whole River (21 miles)
Full river trip available by request for groups of 10 or more. Call (800) 488-7238 for details.
2 day South Fork trips depart on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
2-Day Fun Run Adult Youth Group
Monday and Thursday $265 $239 $212
Saturday $312 $282 $250
Subject to $8.00 River and Land Use Fee.

Trip Description

Moving first among big foothills and later through a steep granite canyon, the South Fork struts out quickly, surging powerfully, then yawns coyly before suddenly rushing headlong through the fabled American River Gorge. All trips include cold beverage at end. One-day trips add bountiful lunch along the river. Two-day trips add a delicious camp BBQ dinner and tasty cookout breakfast. Read the full trip description »

Rafting fun on the South Fork American RiverThe South Fork American River flows down the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and offers a blend of relaxing calms and thrilling Class III rapids. This is the absolute best rafting run for beginning rafters!

South Fork American River Rafting ExcitementSix miles downstream from Chili Bar, the river flows past the historic township of Coloma, where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848, thereby starting the California gold rush.

The entire 20 river-mile stretch of the South Fork American from the Nugget to Folsom Lake is run on our two-day trip. One-day trips usually run the lower section, commonly known as The Gorge. Express trips usually run the upper stretch, also called the Chili Bar Run. Both are classic beginner rafting runs!

Family Fun on the South Fork AmericanSouth Fork American Rapids: The South Fork American River is rated Class III, providing an exciting, but not scary river experience.

Some of the more memorable rapids include Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Fowler’s Rock, Satan’s Cesspool, Hospital Bar.

The South Fork of the American River flows for rafting derive from water releases from hydroelectric facilities located at Chili Bar and above.

These controlled releases are made for power generation purposes and are not subject to the control of the County of El Dorado or within the control of rafting operators.


Typical season:
April through September

2014 start dates:
Call booking office.

For South Fork information and to make reservations, call (800) 488-7238

For other general questions, call (800) 400-RAFT

Download trip packet (PDF)


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Whitewater Voyages
11252 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238
Call Toll Free: 800-400-7238
The Leader in California White Water Rafting Trips Since 1975

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