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North Fork

The North Fork of the American River offers non-stop whitewater action fun, set in a stunning granite canyon. This Class IV/V river is ideal for the thrill-seeking, experienced rafter or athletic beginner. This river offers non-stop action for 14 miles as it cuts through a gorgeous narrow granite canyon with back-to-back big rapids. You’ll deftly maneuver around boulders and successfully tackle rapids like Chamberlain Falls, Bogus Thunder, Staircase, Nose Stand and many more. Get ready to paddle with gusto–this run is all hands on deck!

River Miles
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Class
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Min Age
Major Rapids

Itinerary

Departure: The departure time for this trip varies based on the permit for that day. You will meet the WET van and your guides for the day. behind the Raley’s in Auburn California at 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603. From there we have a short 25 minute ride in the van to our put-in location at the Iowa Hill Rd. Bridge.

The Trip: This one is not for the faint of heart. The North Fork is a Class IV+ section of continuous high level whitewater.

Return: Once your time on the water is complete you will load into the WET van and return to the Raley’s parking lot after a short drive.

North Fork

  • RIVER: North Fork American River
  • SECTION: Iowa Hill Road - Ponderosa Road
  • BEST FOR: Adventurers, Thrills Seekers, and Experienced Rafters
  • CLASS: 4+
  • MINIMUM AGE: 14
  • SKILL: Intermediate, Experienced
  • DEPARTS FROM: BEHIND Raley's, 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603
  • MEALS: Lunch
  • DURATION: Approximately 5 hours, Start time varies based on permitting.
  • COST: $119 Weekdays / $129 Weekends

North Fork of the American River

The North Fork American River is the ultimate in California whitewater action. This Class IV/V river is ideal for the experienced rafter or the athletic beginner (must know how to swim) looking for an adrenaline filled adventure. This river start off with a bang and continues with none stop action for 7 miles as it cuts through a gorgeous narrow granite canyon with back to back big rapids and crystal clear water. After blasting through hydraulics, deftly maneuvering around boulders and successfully tackling rapids like Chamberlain Falls, Bogus Thunder, Staircase, Nose Stand and many more, we pull over for a gourmet deli lunch freshly prepared by our professional guides. Before continue our adventure for 5 more miles of breathtaking views and whitewater action. There is no other river like this free-flowing gem. The North Fork American River is a spring run-off river since there are no dams. This year provides a unique opportunity to experience this highly sought after adventure, since the record snowfall allows us the opportunity to run trips potentially through June.

The wild and scenic North Fork American River is an almost non-stop whitewater action trip set in a stunning granite wilderness slot canyon. This trip features almost continuous technical thrilling whitewater rapids like Slaughters Sluice Box, Chamberlain Falls, and Bogus Thunder. After you are served a freshly prepared gourmet lunch you can catch your breath and soak in the grandeur of the stunning granite walls, lush hillsides and spring flowers as the river slows a bit for the second half. Once you have completed this trip you will have a true sense of accomplishment and an experience worthy of sharing for years to come, as this trip requires everyone to pull their weight to maneuver through the numerous Class IV/V whitewater rapids. Not to worry you are in good hands with our highly skilled and trained guides. We will not only provide you with all the necessary equipment but the training and guidance necessary to accomplish your goal of tackling the North Fork American River.

Only 3 hours from San Francisco, 45 minutes from Sacramento and 1 hour from Lake Tahoe the North Fork of the American you and your friends we feel like you have entered into your own private wonderland as you float along a ribbon of crystal clear azure water

through the narrow granite canyon, covered in lush green vegetation highlighted with spring flowers. The last 7 miles offer you to soak in this beauty, while you laugh and reminisce about the non-stop excitement of the first 7 miles of nearly non-stop continuous whitewater action. Fortunately for you, when you choose W.E.T. River Trips you will be provided the best and most experienced guides on the North Fork of the American River to guide you along your adventure, their sole job is to ensure that you have a safe and memorable trip. But don’t be mistaken, the North Fork is all hands on deck trip. Everyone will be trained to successfully paddle in order to safely maneuver your rafts through this technical exciting river.

Part of the beauty of the Wild and Scenic North Fork American is its free-flowing nature. Undamed this is truly a pristine river that normally is runnable from March-May. This year with the record snowpack we will have the opportunity to run trips through June. Don’t miss your chance to experience this true wilderness river canyon with some of the most technical rapids in California. Many people have been waiting for years to experience this trip. This is the year to do it.

With its steep drops, technical rapids and rushing falls this intermediate/advanced rafting trip is perfect for adventurous first timers and those who have rafted before but want even more excitement, adventure, seclusion and beauty. On this trip you get all of this excitement while floating through a narrow granite canyon with lush green walls and azure crystal clear water.  The combination of some of the best whitewater and most spectacular scenery in California makes the North Fork of the American a must-do. The North Fork rafting trip has a minimum age of 14 and all participants have to paddle and be active participants. With W.E.T. you will have the best and most experienced guides on the North Fork American River ensuring that you will have the trip of a lifetime on this incredible river. Just a short distance for Sacramento, Lake Tahoe or the Bay Area the is no excuse to miss this experience.

This trip begins by meeting at Raley’s in Auburn. Usually at 9:00 (meet times may vary due to water levels). After meeting your highly skilled, trained and experience W.E.T. guides we load into our shuttle vans (which by the way are the newest and nicest in the industry) to head to put in. Where you will be fitted with all the necessary rafting equipment, including paddle, life jacket and helmet before receiving a safety and paddling orientation. Then it is time for the adventure to begin. Right away you enter a quarter mile long stretch of technical whitewater filled with technical maneuver around boulders, crashing through giant waves and culminating by dropping the 7 foot Chamberlain Falls. The excitement doesn’t stop there the action continues almost non-stop for the next 7 miles, with rapids like Bogus Thunder, Grand Slalom, Staircase and Nose stand to name just a few. We then get to bask in the sun and relax as your guides skillfully prepare you a gourmet deli lunch along the banks of the river. The last five miles we play in the numerous Class III rapids, giving us a chance to truly appreciate the beauty of this Sierra Nevada wonderland as we laugh and reminisce about the morning’s excitement. Ending at Ponderosa Bridge, you will be greeted by cold refreshing beverages before we shuttle you back to your cars in our shuttle vans. This is our guides favorite river trips and after you have experienced it for yourself you will know why, and have stories and memories for a lifetime.

 

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

For Rafting:

  • 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)

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 no cost)
  • Warm clothing for the evening.
  • Personal care items (Toothbrush, deodorant,  hair care products, etc.)
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • 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 avaliable upon request in warmer months.

Take a Closer Look

Other trips you might enjoy

Early Spring 2 day rafting trip put-in at Chile Bar

South Fork 2 Day (Class III)

One day is just never enough to truly enjoy what rafting has to offer. Join us on this two day trip and let us take care of all the details! Two days of camping, meals, and adventure.

Learn More

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