Middle Fork American River

Auburn /

Level: Intermediate /

Class 2-4+

Class II-IV Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River

Meeting Location

Meeting Location: Crooked Lane Brewing Company

The following is for our Class 4 Middle Fork American and North Fork American River rafting trips.

Area Information

Class 4 Rafting on the Middle Fork American River

Middle Fork American River rafting trips provide reliable Class 4 all summer whitewater runs. We offer raft trips for 1-4 days including wilderness camp outs and in combination with other forks of the American. These runs are suitable for the active, fit and adventurous first-timer, or a great choice for those seeking a step-up from the easier South Fork American River. Good swimming skills are required.

On the Middle Fork American River you will encounter many Class 4 rapids including Tunnel Chute, Kanaka, Bus Crash, Cleavage and more! This trip is action packed right after put in.

Our 1 day trip is all day and includes lunch. We meet you in Auburn at the Crooked Lane Brewing Company in the morning and will take you to/from the river.

The 2 day overnight on this river is a favorite of our river guides during the summer. They appreciate escaping into this secluded and pristine road-less area. This trip allows us to show you the more unique canyons, streams and waterfalls as we explore in the rafts and on foot.

Middle Fork American River rafting trips are fed all summer long by snow melt captured in upstream reservoirs. The headwaters are in the Granite Chief Wilderness on the back side of the Squaw Valley. The river travels through steep, rugged and forested canyons within the Tahoe National Forest and into the Auburn State Recreation Area.

The Auburn Dam project threatened the Middle Fork American River canyon for many years. This prevented it from receiving its deserved wild & scenic status. Though the growth of our foothill communities is unavoidable, there is obviously a demand for these recreational areas to remain unspoiled for future generations. We continue to work with organizations like Friends of the River and Protect American River Canyons so we can all continue to enjoy its beauty.

The Middle Fork is one of the deepest river canyons in California. Once scheduled to be under hundreds of feet of water as part of the Auburn Dam project, folks just like you discovered it’s treasures and forced the powers-that-be both here in California and back in D.C. to recognize it’s true worth as an important part of our environmental, social, economic and spiritual health. Check out this gem – it’s perhaps the most bang for your buck (in so many ways) that you can get anywhere in California!

For non-swimmers and timid first timers we recommend easier Class 2 Lower Middle Fork  American River (for ages 4+) or 3 rafting trips on the South Fork American River (ages 7+).

Auburn Lodging/Bed & Breakfasts:

Foresthill: about 20 mins NW of Auburn, wonderful small town with restaurants, bars, and grocery store.

  • Mountain Shadows – (888) 674-4933 A beautiful house with room for up to 20 people on 1.5 acres with breathtaking views overlooking the Middle Fork American River canyon. Culinary kitchen, heated outdoor pool, wi-fi friendly sound system and more! Great for groups, families, and weddings – dog and horse friendly! Listed on VRBO with 5 star reviews. Pick up for your rafting trip possible.
  • Miners Camp – Centrally located in the historic town of Foresthill, CA. There are 10 recently remodeled modern units sleeping up to 42 people. Listed on VRBO and managed by the same wonderful people who run Mountain Shadows!

Weimar/Meadow Vista: about 15 mins NE of Auburn. Consists of a couple very rural communities with some ammenities. Super views of the Sierra’s. Great choice if you are looking for something close but not in town.

  • Sierra Sun Cloud Inn B&B – Weimar/Colfax (888) 637-1083 or (530) 637-1083
    Secluded, 18 acre hilltop setting among towering pines. Spectacular views. Adjacent to 15 miles of pristine hiking trails.

Colfax: is 20 minutes NE of Auburn, but convenient from North Lake Tahoe & Reno or if we are meeting in Colfax for a North Fork American rafting trip:

  • Colfax Chamber of Commerce
  • The Colfax Motor Lodge – 550 South Auburn St., Colfax, CA. 95713  (530) 346-8382. Very affordable rates, newly renovated.
  • Rollins Lakeside Inn – 18145 Rollins View Dr, Grass Valley CA 95945. (Yes, technically Grass Valley, but only 25 minutes from our Auburn meeting location). Toll Free (877) 466-0729, 530-273-0729, or 916-792-5073. Lake front property with several cabins to choose from, pool, bbq’s, wifi. Perfect for groups!

Foresthill: about 20 mins NW of Auburn, wonderful small town with restaurants, bars, and grocery store.

  • Mountain Shadows – (888) 674-4933 A beautiful house with room for up to 20 people on 1.5 acres with breathtaking views overlooking the Middle Fork American River canyon. Culinary kitchen, heated outdoor pool, wi-fi friendly sound system and more! Great for groups, families, and weddings – dog and horse friendly! Listed on VRBO with 5 star reviews. Pick up for your rafting trip possible.
  • Miners Camp – Centrally located in the historic town of Foresthill, CA. There are 10 recently remodeled modern units sleeping up to 42 people. Listed on VRBO and managed by the same wonderful people who run Mountain Shadows!

Auburn:

Auburn:

Folsom:

Colfax/Weimar/Dutch Flat:

  • Rollins Lake (NID) – 3 campgrounds located on lake 3.5 miles N. of Colfax, 19.5-22 miles NE of Auburn off Hwy. 174/I-80. Reservations available. Hot showers, water, electric hook-ups, boat ramp & rentals, store. Tent & RV sites. (530) 346-2212, (530) 346-6166, (530) 477-9413.
  • Rollins Lake (Greenhorne) – Also on Rollins Lake, no hookups. 530-272-6100.
  • Bear River Campground – 2500 Campground Road, Colfax CA 95713. 14.5 miles NE of Auburn. On Bear River, 23 sites, no water, no reservations (first come first serve basis, holidays are typically full 3-4 days prior to the holiday). Group camp available by reservation, no water. (530) 886-4901.
  • Dutch Flat RV Resort – 55 Canyon Creek Way, Gold Run, CA 95717. (530)-389-8924. Tent camping, RV sites, pool and clubhouse. 26 minutes East of Auburn – located at 3000′ so a great cooler option for the summer!

Coloma/Lotus:

  • Rivers Bend Resort – Private Riverside Camp, On the South Fork American, 20+ minutes S. of Auburn on Hwy. 49. Hot showers, flush toilets, volleyball, horseshoes. Sorry, no dogs allowed. Reservations required through Tributary Whitewater 800-672-3846.
  • Also see South Fork American River Area Information
  • The Auburn State Recreation Area – Camping, trails, fishing & swimming. Additional recreation, accommodations & sightseeing are available in Grass Valley/Nevada City just 24 miles N. of Auburn via Hwy. 49, or in North Lake Tahoe 80 miles E. of Auburn via I-80
  • Placer County Visitors Center – 13411 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603. (866) 752-2371 or (530) 887-2111.
  • Protect American River Canyons – Dedicated to the protection and conservation of the natural, recreational, cultural, and historical resources of the North and Middle Forks of the American River and its canyons for all to responsibly care for and enjoy.
  • Auburn Chamber of Commerce – (530) 885-5616
  • Auburn Transit – City of Auburn Public Works operates Auburn Transit. Auburn Transit is a deviated fixed route service that operates within the City of Auburn and portions of unincorporated Placer County.

For local transportation within the Auburn area (ie: to/from hotel and meeting location)

  • Sierra Taxi – (530) 885-2227. Local Taxi service.
  • Gold Cab & Limo Service – (530)-885-1111 / (916)-500-9891. Local taxi and airport services.

For Transportation to/from Sacramento International Airport:

Great fishing location that hosts beautifully-colored wild rainbow trout (native, not stocked) and German browns. Some of the best locations are pretty inaccessible except for serious hikers, but readily accessible on a multi-day rafting trip.

Great trails around, including the 100 mile Western States

There are great wineries and breweries to be found throughout the Gold Country Foothills, in Placer, Nevada and El Dorado Counties:

  • Fawnridge Winery – 5560 Fawnridge Road, Auburn, CA 95602. Award winning wines. Tasting Hours: Friday-Sunday  11am-5pm

There are several Lakes in the area where you can take a SUP board or kayak for the day – even some you can paddle in for overnight beach camping!

Surrounding Lakes/Reservoirs: