The Lower Middle Fork & South Fork American Gorge 2 day overnight combo trip is a great first time trip for younger children. Also those who may be a bit nervous about tackling Class 3 rapids, will appreciate the Class 2 rapids on the first day to “warm-up”. This trip is also great for diverse family groups. We can supply inflatable kayaks on the first day for greater excitement for older youths and more adventurous participants.
Due to water releases upstream, we can only run the Lower Middle Fork American in the afternoon, so we meet on day one after lunch. We transport you from Auburn for a ride down into the Middle Fork American Canyon. You will get glimpses of the river far below as we descend. We unload the rafts at the put-in where you receive pre-trip instruction and board the rafts for a fun afternoon!
You are welcome to bring snacks for the kids to take on the rafts as there will be stops on the river. There are safe beach areas for picnicking and play, as well as side hikes up creeks into shady dells with waterfalls (seasonal). Very few people are seen on this trip, but we often see nesting ducks, deer, heron and fish jumping. Late in the season, we also stop to pick incredibly juicy blackberries.
Returning to Auburn around 6:00 pm, you head out for a 30 minute drive to our overnight camp in Lotus-Coloma. Dinner is being prepared, so when you arrive at camp enjoy some appetizers and a beverage. A delicious 3 course dinner will be served shortly. This is accompanied with a moderate amount of beer, wine, and soft drinks. After dinner, you can relax around the camp fire and usually smores will be available too.
You will have time to set-up camp before or after dinner, or better yet rent tents from us which will be set up for you. You spend the night on the river banks of the South Fork American. Our rafters only camp site at Rivers Bend has flush toilets, hot showers, volleyball net and horseshoe pits.
On the second day, awake to the sound of the river, the aroma of coffee brewing and breakfast being prepared by your amazing river guides. The morning is fairly relaxed. You will rendezvous in the parking area around 10:30 am for a short shuttle for the 2nd days trip.
We launch from the Hwy 49 bridge for your South Fork American River “Gorge” rafting trip. After boarding the rafts, there are 4 miles of Class 2 rapids to warm up on. We pull into the camp where you are served a great riverside feast. We launch again, and on the remaining 9 miles the rafts enter the steep granite canyon known as the ‘Gorge’. The rapids occur more frequently with many Class 3-3+ rapids like ‘Fowler’s Rock’, ‘Satan’s Cesspool’, ‘Bouncing Rock’, and ‘Hospital Bar’. There are also numerous milder and fun rapids along the way and time to relax and enjoy a swim too. The rafting trip ends at Folsom Lake where you are served cold drinks and we bus the group back to the camp.
On day 2, if you have younger children who cannot raft on Class 3, they can stop at lunch and play in camp, visit the nearby Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park or take some easy local hikes. See Lower Middle Fork & South Fork Class 2 option.