Top 5 California Rafting Trips for Kids

Top 5 Rafting Trips for Kids! 

A lot of us at Raft California have kids and as adventurous individuals ourselves we want to share these amazing experiences with our littles. We run Family Rafting Trips of all types from mild to extra-spicy, therefore creating an opportunity to get younger ones introduced at their own level. 

California has so much outdoor fun to explore like Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Mt. Shasta, Yosemite, the Redwoods & more. 

Our trips are a fun way to connect as a family, bring a scout group, or enjoy some river time with friends. We offer lots of options from short half day trips to multi-day camping & rafting vacations where we cook for you! So come and enjoy your vacation time with Raft California – where memories will last a lifetime. 

5. Lotus Run on the South Fork American River

We have 8 kids whose parents are Raft California staff members (including our owner), these kiddos are all under 12 years old and out of the 8 “littles” at our company, this was the first rafting trip for all of them! This Class 2 rafting trip meets all the needs for a first rafting trip and great for the really young ones. 
What makes this trip awesome:
  • It’s a late morning trip! We meet at 10:30am and you’re done around 1:00pm. We know afternoons can be difficult if your little is used to napping, it can be melt-down:30 anytime after 3pm. 
  • It’s short! This trip is 4 miles long with a couple splashy Class 2 rapids including Barking Dog (woof!)
  • It’s close to the Bay Area & Lake Tahoe! Located in Lotus, CA this trip is easy to get to and accessible as a day trip. 
  • Want to spice it up a bit? Add an inflatable kayak if you have older kids or adults who want more of a challenge.
 
Overnight Camping & Glamping available as an add on at our South Fork American River Campground in Lotus, CA. 

4. Gorge Run on the South Fork American River

Once the kids are bigger this is usually the first Class 3 trip we take our kids on. It’s fun, exciting & only a half day. 
What makes this trip awesome:
  • Starts mellow – ends big! The trip is 11 miles total and starts with mainly Class 2 rapids for several miles to get a warm up. The Class 3-3+ rapids are encountered in the second half of the trip where the river narrows and we go faster!
  • Going to Tahoe? This is a great alternative to our Truckee River rafting trip that often fills up 2-3 weeks in advance. We are 30 minutes from I-80 going to North Lake Tahoe and same travel time from the 50 going to South Lake Tahoe.
  • NOT an early morning trip! Sleep in, enjoy your morning, and we will see you after lunch. 
 
Overnight Camping & Glamping available as an add on at our South Fork American River Campground in Lotus, CA. 

3. Ropes & Rafting – New for 2021

Raft California has partnered with the Quarry Park Adventures in Rocklin to create a unique 2 day package. Spend day 1 at the Ropes Course in Rocklin and day 2 on the Class 3 South Fork American River Chili Bar Run.
What makes this trip awesome:
  • Ropes & Rafting! It’s just awesome, come see for yourself!
  • We cook for you! 5 meals are included in this trip. Your guides will prep & cook all your meals. We do ask you help us run your dish thru the wash line, many hands make light work:)
  • Its a 2 day vacation! 2 nights camping at our South Fork American River Campground is included (and you can add more if you want). Don’t want to deal with a tent? Rent a Canvas Tent from us – you’ll have your own deck to chill on. 

2. Middle Fork American River

This is a great river for adventurous teens. There are lots of options for rafting the Middle Fork, previous rafting is suggested for Class 4 white water. Especially the Middle Fork, the biggest Class 4+ rapid is just a couple miles downstream of the put in, it’s called Tunnel Chute Rapid – its pretty epic and you’ll learn a little about its history too. 
What makes this trip awesome:
  • Wilderness! From the put in right below the Oxbow dam in Foresthill down to the Ruck A Chucky Campground in Auburn, there is NO ROAD ACCESS for 18 miles. The only other people you will see are other rafters
  • Wildlife! Otter, Blue Heron, Fish & Mergansers are often spotted while floating the mellow sections of the river. 
  • Action Packed! There are a lot of Class 4-4+ rapids on this trip, they are continuous at the beginning and end of the trip, with a 7 mile section of mellow flatwater & Class 2 rapids which provide lots of swimming opportunities. 
 
The South Fork American /Middle Fork American Rivers 2 day combo is a great option for kids who haven’t been rafting before. The 1 day trip is good for return rafters and the 2 day…well that one is just epic and a guide favorite. 

1. Lower Klamath 3 Day Wilderness Trip

This is the most sought after trip by our staff. Our guides are always so excited when they get scheduled on these trips and the stoke factor is real! Its a fun outdoor adventure where you really feel like you got away from it all. There is one Class 3+ rapid called Dragons Tooth that we can walk younger kids around, but for the most part this river is mellow with a handful of Class 2 rapids along the way. 
What makes this trip awesome:
  • Ukonom Waterfalls! On Day 2 of the trip we stop at Ukonom creek and hike up (and thru) the water to an amazing natural waterfall. 
  • Wildlife, river ecology & Karuk native American history. Bald eagle spotting’s are common on the Klamath, we will also share with you the history of the Karuk Native Americans who inhabit the riverbanks, and the removal of upstream dams to revive the ecology of the Klamath river. 
  • Need more spice? We get it, we always bring some inflatable kayaks for our guests who want more challenge on the river.

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