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Middle Fork

Lunch Included!

The Middle Fork of the American River is the perfect mix of thrills and amazing scenery. This Class 4 (IV) river is ideal for the thrill-seekers, experienced rafters or athletic beginners. With 18 miles of whitewater this all day excursion is sure to energize your soul. Experience the unique Tunnel Chute rapid; a tunnel blasted through the mountain back in the gold mining era. 

River Miles
Min Age
Major Rapids



The meeting time for the Middle Fork is 8AM. You will meet your WET van and guides behind Raleys in Auburn, CA at 13384 Lincoln Way. After son quick introductions we will take short shuttle drive to our put-in location on Oxbow Reservoir. 

The Trip: 

Enjoy a stunning combination of scenery and adventure on this day long trip. We’re going to start the day with some of our favorite rapids. Good Morning Rapid, Tunnel Chute, and Kanaka Falls will make this an experience you’ll never forget! After stopping for a gourment deli style lunch we are continuing on with a challenging section that includes Class 3 (III) – 4 (IV) rapids such as Clevage, Parallel Parking, Texas Chainsaw, and more  before reaching our take out.

Return: After your time on the water is complete, you will load into a WET van and head back to Raley’s parking lot. After about 20 minutes of driving we arrive back at your vehicles, then it’s time for the see you next times!

Middle Fork
American River Rafting

Middle Fork of the American River

About the Trip

The 18 mile trip on the Class IV Middle Fork of the American River provides more adventurous whitewater rafting than your average rivers. You will find big drops, intricate technical rapids and tons of action that you won’t forget any time soon! This is a full day adventure full of whitewater action as well as calm pools that allow you to bask in the breath taking beauty of the 2000 foot deep wilderness river canyon. If all of that isn’t enough the Middle Fork provides the added benefit of its historic significance during the California Gold Rush.

To the River!

We start are day in Auburn, California from which we jump into our shuttle vans to drive to put-in. You get a bird’s eye view of the canyon as we travel to our put-in.


It’s easy to get up early when you’re surrounded by the natural beauty of Auburn. From there we jump into our shuttle vans to drive through this picturesque canyon and see a bird’s eye view of it as we travel towards our put-in. Our shuttle van takes us on a scenic drive through El Dorado National Forest before we finally arrive at put-in for an awe-inspiring day rafting down The Middle Fork of the American River.

The Whitewater Rafting

After being fitted with all the necessary rafting equipment and receiving a safety orientation from one of our highly trained guides, we load into our rafts to continue on this adventure. We start off right away with “Good Morning,” which aptly named rapid will surely get you awake if your weren’t already!

Next up is the famous Tunnel Chute Rapid which drops 80 feet through a 14 foot wide chute ending by floating through a manmade tunnel blasted through the mountain during the gold rush. The true beauty of rafting through the tunnel is that it feels like you are in a different world. You’ll be able to see some parts of the river where sunlight shines down, and then suddenly there will come this blackness all around you as though someone switched off your light switch. There’s just no way to describe how incredible it really is!

 Soon after takin on the intimidating Kanaka Falls, we will stop for a gourmet deli lunch freshly prepared by your guide. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience and we have people come back year after year to re-live it.

Best Time to Come

Depending on snow pack and river flows the Middle Fork of the American is open to whitewater rafting June through September.

The very best time to experience this river is during midweek or Sundays when you can avoid the Saturdays crowd and experience the solitude of the canyon. You will feel like you have the river to yourself.

Jon bringing the overnight gear through the Tunnel Chute rapid on the Middle Fork of the American River


Most frequent questions and answers
  • Secure footwear; old tennis shoes or sturdy sandals with heel straps such as Tevas, Keens, and Chacos. NO FLIP FLOPS OR BARE FEET!
  • Swimsuit or shorts and T-shirt to wear on the rafts.
  • Sunglasses with neck strap (Please be sure to bring a neck strap for any glasses you plan on wearing on the raft.)
  • Sunscreen and lip ointment
  • Water bottle
  • Waterproof camera (optional)
  • Light cap or visor (optional)
  • Any medicines you require (please contact us beforehand to ensure we can accommodate any needs)
  • One professional, talented, and possibly humorous river guide
  • White water raft (Crewed by your provided guide at all times)
  • Personal Flotation Device (Life-jacket)
  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • Other required safety equipment
  • Wetsuits an paddle jackets may be required at additional cost during cooler months and are available upon request in warmer months.

Please feel free to bring whatever items you would like to leave in your car for retrieval after the trip. Camp Lotus features hot showers available for your use.

  • Optional gratuity for your hardworking guides
  • Dry Clothing
  • Water or other beverage
  • Dry towels 
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tent (optionally we can provide tents at a small cost)
  • Warm clothing for the evening.
  • Personal care items (Toothbrush, deodorant,  hair care products, etc.)
  • Flashlight or headlamp

Yes! We love rafting with friends, family, and coworkers! Discounts on rafting are as follows;

  • 5%: 6-11 Rafters
  • 10%: 12-17 Rafters
  • 15%: 18-23 Rafters
  • 20%: 24+ Rafters

Note that discounts are not applied to other “add-ons” such as camping and photo/video packages.

Take a Closer Look

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Meeting Place: Behind the Raley's

13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603

The meeting place for this trip is directly behind the Raleys on Lincoln Way in Auburn. Please drive and park behind the Raley’s where our guides will meet you.

Drive Times:
Sacramento Area: Approximately 45 mins
San Francisco: Approximately 2 hours