North Fork American


Explore North Fork American Rafting Trips

2024 Season: April - May. More

The Class IV+ North Fork of the American River has the most difficult whitewater of the three forks of the American River. Giant boulders scattered throughout a steep, narrow canyon create a technical, challenging slalom. Previous rafting experience is advised.

Difficulty & Scenery

  • Intermediate-Advanced Class IV+
  • Multiple steep drops
  • Narrow, rock-wall canyon

Who Should Go

  • Experienced rafters
  • Those who like dynamic spring rafting
  • Usual min. age: 15

Trips Include

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

Trip Planning

North Fork American 1-Day Rafting Trip Options

A full day in a scenic and narrow rock-walled canyon with challenging Class IV rapids

Many Class IV and Class IV+ rapids followed by an easier Class III section
9 miles
Lunch included

North Fork American
1-Day Trip Pricing

$224 All Departures

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Cancellation Policy

Sample Itinerary

  • Meet mid-morning in Lotus
  • Sign-in, shuttle, instruction
  • Class IV+ rapids
  • Riverside lunch
  • Class IV+ rapids
  • Class I-III rapids
  • Take-out, shuttle
  • Trip ends late afternoon

Your trip begins immediately with a quarter-mile long series of waves, obstacles, and complicated maneuvers. This fast start culminates with a jolting ride through Class IV+ Chamberlain Falls rapid--a careening bend in the river followed by a commanding, sheer drop. Welcome to the first two minutes of every North Fork trip! The Class IV whitewater keeps coming, challenging your paddling skills with each rapid.

Midway through the trip, we break for a satisfying lunch. Here you'll have time to really take in the magnificence of the North Fork canyon--sheer, narrow, stunning. Back to the whitewater, you'll slice through long, complicated Staircase rapid. Soon after, you'll get a chance to relax while leisurely floating through Class II-III rapids to our take-out.

The itinerary above may be altered due to a range of variables, including river flow levels, time of year, and other factors. Contact us if you have any questions.

North Fork American River Rafting Map

More About the North Fork American

The rapids: thrilling Class IV+ drops in a narrow canyon

The thrill of Class IV+ drops in a narrow canyon

The action on this river starts immediately with a long quarter-mile stretch of technical whitewater. This rousing introduction ends in a hefty seven-foot drop called Chamberlain Falls. Continuing on, you'll blast through powerful hydraulics and maneuver through some solid Class IV rapids. After an intense morning, we'll break for lunch along the shoreline. You'll be glad when the river mellows out in the afternoon as we head toward take-out, giving you and your friends a well deserved chance to relax and enjoy the canyon.

The river scenery: A sheer canyon filled with old oaks, alder, and pines

A sheer canyon filled with old oaks, alder, and pines

A narrow and steep canyon of blue-green rock corrals the azure waters of the North Fork. Lush greenery hangs from the cliffs above and wildflowers bloom. The canyon feels so secluded, you and your friends will feel as if you've wandered into your own personal wonderland.

The North Fork American is located 50 mins from Sacramento

50 mins from Sacramento, 1.5hrs from Lake Tahoe

Three hours from San Francisco and one and a half hours from Lake Tahoe, the North Fork American is a short drive from major metropolitan cities. Nearby highways include 50, 80 and 49.

The North Fork American rafting season

April - May*

The North Fork is a free-flowing river. This means there are no upstream dams controlling its flow. So when the snow in the mountains begins to melt, the river begins to flow. Flows typically peak early-May.

* Season length and flows 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

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. Enjoy your relaxing, riverside meal before heading back out on the water for more adventure.

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 Getting Down the River

During normal water flows, All-Outdoors runs paddle rafts on the North Fork American. In a paddle raft, each guest and a professional guide have a paddle and navigate the river working as a coordinated team. North Fork trips are highly participatory so guests need to be ready and willing to paddle. In high water situations, we may opt to run oar-paddle combination rafts (a professional guide steers the raft with oars while simultaneously calling commands to paddlers). All guests should be able to swim.

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"A great way to build camaraderie. Our tour guide, Brit, was awesome at her job and enjoyable to be around. Food was great!"

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Deals & Discounts

Start here to find the best possible deal for your next California whitewater rafting adventure. Please note that only one discount can be applied per person and must be mentioned at the time of reservation.

Group Discount

There are a variety of discounts for group rafting trips. All types of groups are welcome!

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Youth Discount

Youth 17 years or younger receive a 10% discount on any trip on any date!

Frequent Floater Program ®

You earn a FREE day of rafting with our exclusive Frequent Floater Program!®

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Group Rafting Trips on the North Fork American River

We Can Accommodate Groups as Large as 48 People

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

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