california rafting trips & vacations

South Fork American 1/2 Day PM Gorge Run

North Fork American River is a GO this Spring

50% Off Kids on Weekdays

Middle Fork American River - 2 Day Wilderness Rafting Trip

Lotus, CA /


  • $389 – adults (all ages 14+)
Weekends Saturday/Sunday
  • $389 – adults (all ages 14+)
Weekdays: Arrive Monday evening, rafting Tuesday & Wednesday | Weekends: Arrive Friday evening, rafting Saturday & Sunday
Weekdays: Arrive Monday evening, rafting Tuesday & Wednesday | Weekends: Arrive Friday evening, rafting Saturday & Sunday
Class 4 Secluded Wilderness

Big Rapids & Wilderness Camping on the American River

Meet Raft California in the heart of Gold Country for a 2 day / 2 night rafting & camping vacation on the Middle Fork American River. The Class 4 action starts early on the first day of rafting as you will encounter the biggest and longest Class 4+ “Tunnel Chute”. We stop to scout this iconic rapid which was created during the California Gold Rush by miners who blasted thru the river rock in the search for gold. The Tunnel creates a unique experience to guests to raft thru a tunnel (only one of 6 in the world!).

There is no road access between the put in (Oxbow Reservoir) and the take out (Ruck-A-Chucky Campground) so the really great thing about this trip is the beauty and solitude of the canyon – no cars, no traffic, no wi-fi … and no worries! We’ll be rowing all your gear down the river and you’ll get that all-to-rare chance to escape from everyday life. We will take the extra time we have on this 18 mile section of river to explore side creeks to waterfalls and natural wonders. This is a true wilderness adventure!

The minimum age for this journey is 14 or older as we want to make sure everyone is strong enough to paddle the big rapids and will have a fun experience. Rafts can fit up to 6 guests and groups of 8-12 are ideal.

Arrive the evening before the rafting begins at our private South Fork American River Campground. There are several restaurants if you are passing thru Auburn or Placerville, as well as a few tasty local places within 2 miles of camp. Dinner is not included for this first evening. We suggest renting one of our Canvas Tents, the first day of rafting is an early one and if you set up your own tent, you will need to break that down by 7am.

The following morning you awake to the sound of the river and the nature around you. There are coffee, teas, and beverages are available in the kitchen shortly after sunrise followed by a continental breakfast. We board our vans and head to the river about an hour drive thru Foresthill. At the river launching site, your guides will present orientation and safety information and you will receive your river gear including a paddle, a helmet and a life jacket.

We will launch our boats, practice paddling skills with our guides, and head for the excitement and fun of the Tunnel Chute and Kanaka Falls! We stop along the way for lunch as well as side hikes up creeks to secluded waterfalls. Upon arrival at our wilderness camp there is time to enjoy the peace of the remote canyon, fishing, more exploration and fun. Your guides will prepare appetizers and a moderate amount of beer and wine is provided followed by a delicious dinner. We will include a campfire if permitted by State Parks.
The next day, after a leisurely riverside breakfast we continue our run with more big rapids like Chunder and Parallel Parking. Again we will stop for a riverside lunch, or may stay in camp in the morning waiting for the water to rise and have lunch there too. We will arrive at the take out where our shuttle vehicle will greet us at take-out for the ride back to the South Fork American River camp. You are welcome to use the showers before heading home, an additional nights stay at the campground the night after is also available for a fee.
  • 2 days of white water rafting (covering 17 miles)
  • 5 delicious meals
  • 2 nights riverside camping (different locations each night, additional nights available as an add on)
    • Your first night of camping is at our established South Fork American River campground in Lotus, CA with showers, and flush toilets (additional nights are at this location)
    • The second night of camping out on the Middle Fork American River Canyon
  • Most popular California River for small group wilderness getaways
  • Camp under the stars!
  • Experienced guides: skilled and ready to provide a safe and fun outdoor adventure
  • Two days of excitement, fun and relaxation in a beautiful river canyon

Once you arrive as our guest please know you are now what we consider “River Time”. This means we try and stick to a schedule, but times are merely a guideline and may not be exact once we start our adventure. Times below may vary, but not much!

The night before your rafting adventure begins:

  • 4:00-8:00PM – Check in to our South Fork American River campground for camping the night before you start rafting. Dinner is not included. Renting a Canvas Tent for this evening is highly suggested for guests on this trip. It is an early morning the next day and makes it easy to pack up when you don’t have to take down a tent.  

Day 1

Your guides will hand out dry bags for your overnight gear for camping tonight as it will be in a different location

  • 7:00AM Coffee, tea and drinks are available in the kitchen
  • 7:15AM Breakfast
  • 8:00AM Load shuttle to the Oxbow Reservoir put in for the Middle Fork American River
  • 9:00AM Arrive at put in, safety talk & boat rigging
  • 10:00AM On river, rafting with lots of Class 4 rapids with Tunnel Chute within in the first few turns
  • Noon Riverside lunch, often at Dardanelle Creek for the first side hike
  • Inflatable kayaks and river play on the class 2 sections down to camp
  • We will pull into camp early evening, usually around 4:00PM. Guides and guests unload rafts and there is plenty of time for exploring, swimming, fishing, or just kickin’ it by the river!
  • Riverside appetizers, drinks with delicious dinner to follow
  • Evening Campfire and riverside chats (campfire not guaranteed due to possible high fire danger)

Day 2

The morning is leisurely as we wait for the river flows to rise.

  • Just as the sun starts to brighten the sky your guides will have coffee, tea and drinks for you as you enjoy the amazing morning in the canyon! Breakfast is served shortly after and the guides will start to pack up the kitchen area.
  • After breakfast you will pack up your personal gear to load back onto the gear boat(s). We get all the gear loaded & do a sweep of camp to make sure we didn’t miss any trash or personal items and we get back on the river!
  • There are a few miles of the calmer Class 2 rapids and some additional places to explore.
  • Noonish we stop for lunch and shortly after getting back on the river we get back into the Class 4 action!
  • Once we come thru Chunder Rapid (Class 4 usually with photographers to capture the action) we will pull over for the gear boat to unrig or it will get taken off river. The next rapid on the river is the Class 6 waterfall called Ruck-A-Chucky. This is a mandatory portage (walk around) for our guests, sorry guides/staff only and you will get to watch from the looking perch while your trusty guide maneuvers the boat down a 28 foot waterfall and around a handful of rocks and undercurrents.
  • Back on the boat there are many more Class 4 rapids, including Cleavage a popular surfing spot as well.
  • We usually arrive at the take out at the bottom of Drivers Flat Road by 3:30 where we load the gear into the shuttles and head back to our campground on the South Fork American River
  • Fond farewells as you head home or to your next destination … OR maybe you would like to stay another night!
  • Most kids ages 14 and up
  • Strong Swimmers
  • All participants must be in good physical condition for challenging rapids and side hikes

Included with Rafting

  • PFD (Personal floatation device / aka life jacket)
  • Paddle
  • Helmet
  • Professional raft guide for each raft

Included with this Overnight River Rafting Trip

  • 2 nights camping
  • 5 meals
    • Day 1 – breakfast, lunch & dinner
    • Day 2 – breakfast & lunch

Included on Night Two

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Cot
  • Dry Bag for your gear

For Rafting

  • Required Items
    • Re-usable 20oz or more water bottle
    • Shoes (no flip flops)
  • Suggested Items
    • Sunglasses (with a strap)
    • Baseball hat
  • Do Not Bring
    • Cell Phones
    • Wallets
    • Expensive jewelry

For Camping, Night One

  • Linens
    • Blankets
    • Pillow
    • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Camp chair

For Camping, Night Two

  • Linens
    • Blankets
    • Pillow
    • Sleeping bag
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Camp chair


Raft California South Fork American River Campground

Address: 6500 Highway 49 Lotus, CA 95651

Please note that cell phone reception in our remote area is not guaranteed, although it is getting better. Therefore we suggest you print out the directions or save for offline on your phone. Please be sure to check drive times when booking your rafting trip and allow for additional time on Holidays and weekends.

Truckee Trips end August 1st

Don't worry, We're not gonna do what everyboy thinks we're gonna do and freak out man... All we wanna know is, who's coming with us... to the American river that is.