Middle Fork American River


Explore the Middle Fork American River

2024 Season: Late May through September. More

One of the best wilderness whitewater rivers, the Middle Fork of the American, features numerous Class III and some technical Class IV rapids in a beautiful 2000-foot deep rugged canyon. This river is appropriate for active, athletic individuals - both those who rafted before as well as adventurous first-timers.

Difficulty & Scenery

  • Intermediate Class III-IV
  • Jolting, short, rocky rapids
  • 2000'-deep wilderness canyon

Who Should Go

  • Experienced rafters and adventurous beginners
  • People wanting to try Class IV
  • Usual min. age: 12

Trips Include

  • Pro guide & instruction
  • Equipment & shuttle
  • Fresh, delicious meals

Trip Planning

Middle Fork American Rafting Trip Options


More About the Middle Fork American River

The rapids on the Middle Fork American

Class II & III rapids interspersed with quick, jolting Class IV drops.

The Middle Fork's Class IV rapids are literally famous, having been featured in many motion pictures. Their cinematic reputation is well deserved–they are built of chutes and large drops that appear intimidating but are actually quite forgiving. The Middle Fork's most well known rapid is Tunnel Chute–a steep and narrow chute of frothy whitewater that crashes over a 6-foot drop and then through a 90-foot long rock tunnel!

Halfway through the trip, a calming Class II section allows paddlers time to relax and play in the clear water. The final stretch of river begins with a sharp 5-foot drop and an intricate portage of an unrunnable Class VI waterfall. We end in a long succession of exciting Class III-IV rapids.

The rivery scenery: A 2000 ft deep canyon

The 2000'-deep and secluded Middle Fork canyon is worth the trip in itself.

Though you will find historic remnants of the California Gold Rush in the Middle Fork canyon, what you won't see are houses. This is a remote wilderness area. Oak and pine trees cover the canyon walls while willow and wild grapevines decorate the riverbanks. During the spring, golden poppies and purple and pink lupine dot the landscape. In the summer, juicy blackberries lie plump on the vine and their sweet scent pervades the air. Any trip through this beautiful canyon represents a significant break from everyday life in the city.

Located 1 hour from Sacramento

One hour from Sacramento, 30 minutes from Auburn

The Middle Fork is just 140 miles east of San Francisco and just 50 miles east of Sacramento. Interstate 80 is 17 miles from the All-Outdoors Middle Fork meeting place, making your commute easier and faster.

The Middle Fork American Rafting Season

May through September*

The Middle Fork is dam-controlled with scheduled water releases from an upstream reservoir - in fact, we put-in right at the base of Oxbow Dam. Because the river's flows are regulated, its levels are consistent throughout the rafting season typically starting in May and ending in September.

* Season length, river flows, and days of water releases may vary. For this year's flow predictions and real-time water levels go to the River Flows page.

Meals: Freshly prepared riverside feasts

Freshly prepared riverside feasts

On 1-Day trips, we provide a gourmet "build-your-own" sandwich lunch that includes all the fixings you’ll need to assemble the perfect sandwich along with kettle style potato chips, dried fruit, and chocolate. On Multi-Day trips, our meals are freshly prepared with a selection of healthy ingredients. Dinner will typically begin with beverages and hors d'oeuvres in camp while your guides prepare your hearty main entrees and a tasty dessert. The next morning you can wake up with your choice of cowboy coffee or tea while your guides prepare a hearty classic camp breakfast OR a continental breakfast.

If you have special dietary requirements, we encourage you to tell us at the time of your reservation so we can discuss options.

How You Participate in Rafting the River

How You Participate in Rafting the River

All-Outdoors runs paddle-rafts on the Middle Fork. In a paddle-raft, each guest and a professional guide have a paddle and navigate the river, working as a coordinated team. Middle Fork trips are highly participatory so guests need to be ready and willing to paddle. All guests should be able to swim.

Highly Recommended with Great Reviews

All-Outdoors is the most recommended whitewater rafting outfitter in California. See for yourself:

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Highly Recommend This Trip and All Outdoors!

"Excellent experience all the way. All Outdoors is very organized and efficient. Top notch folks. The trip was as described on the website and was very exciting. Our guide, Dane, is a fine young man. Very knowledgeable about the river. The food was good and plentiful. We plan to return in the future."

Bruce from Frisco TX

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Group Rafting Trips on the Middle Fork American

We Can Accommodate Groups as Large as 150 People

One of our specialties is creating fun and memorable whitewater rafting trips for small or large groups.

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