This combo overnight whitewater rafting trip on the Lower North / South Fork American is a great spring time trip. Kids from 6 yrs may be able to participate depending on flows. It is an option when the Lower Middle Fork American is not available. This may be due to a large snow pack and resulting high water or road access issues.
For the 1st day of this river trip we meet in Auburn and shuttle up I-80 east to Weimar (below Colfax). The put-in is located down a windy canyon road at the historic Yankee Jims Bridge. You are now in the pristine and secluded North Fork American River canyon.
Some of the more exciting rapids are to be found in the first few miles with the Class 2 rapids named 1 ½ and 2 ½. Following this is rapid 3 ½ and Bend & Brake, which verge on class 3 at higher flows. About 4 miles from put-in, the Ponderosa Bridge indicates the end of the more difficult upstream Class 4 North Fork American run. Most other rafters will be taking off the river at this point. The remaining section of river is even more remote, and you are officially deep into the wilderness of the Auburn State Recreation Area. Soon after the bridge is a trail and a possible side hike to some beautiful waterfalls. Lunch will typically be served at Codfish Creek camp area, and below this we will encounter another couple of class 2 rapids.
We take out at the upper end of Lake Clementine. Refreshments are served and we shuttle back to the meeting location. It is a 30 minute drive to our exclusive overnight camp in Lotus-Coloma. This camp provides flush toilets, hot showers, volleyball and horseshoe pits. If you did not arrive the night before, you will transport your camping equipment from your car down the trail to the camp site. If you rented equipment from us, the tents will be already erected for you! You will have time to set-up camp before dinner.
You will be served appetizers while dinner is being prepared by your amazing river guides. A moderate amount of beer, wine, and soft drinks will be served. After dinner, you can relax around the camp fire and usually s’mores will be available too.
The next morning, awake to the sound of the river and the aroma of coffee brewing. Your guides will serve you a hearty breakfast and the morning is fairly relaxed. You will rendezvous in the car park around 10:30 am for your 2nd day of rafting on the South Fork American River “Gorge”.
The put-in at the Hwy 49 bridge is just a short shuttle from the overnight camp. After boarding the rafts, there are 4 miles of Class 2 rapids to warm up on. We pull into camp for another great river side lunch and then back on the river. The rafts enter the steep granite canyon of the “Gorge” where the rapids occur more frequently in the remaining 9 miles. There are 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 for swimming. The rafting trip ends at Folsom Lake where cold drinks are served and the group is shuttled back to the camp.