American River California – Flowing out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on course to the Sacramento River, this is a popular whitewater rafting and fishing destination. The proximity to the city of Sacramento, California makes this a popular destination. It has some great rafting opportunities and beautiful scenery.
Flows And Weather
NF AMERICAN R A NORTH FORK DAM CA
- Flow: 3320 ft³/s
- Water Level: 3.21 ft
AMERICAN R A FAIR OAKS CA
- Water Temp: 49.64 ° F
- Flow: 1760 ft³/s
- Water Level: 4.76 ft
Rapids and Float Notes
The 3 forks are the primary rafting locations. Each offers a mix of rapids ranging from Class II-V. The variety is nice for individuals looking from everything from mild splashing to technical and intensive whitewater.
South Fork Of American River Rafting
Friendly for just about anyone with Class II-III rapids. You can run this spring through fall with the highest intensity in the spring months.
Middle Fork of American River Rafting
Things kick up a notch here with some intense rapids and bigger drops. It’s rated at class IV with some nice chutes and excitement at the tunnel chute rapid. The river makes a big drop and funnels through a narrow channel. You are shot underground through a mining tunnel that was blasted during the gold rush. It’s an 18 mile run through some remote and beautiful country.
North Fork of American River Rafting
The NF is fast, technical and a ton of fun. A beginner could run it with a guide or experienced paddle crew. Otherwise, you want some experience here. There is no dam release so the flows are completely driven by rain and snow-melt on the freestone section. The rafting season is typically spring through early summer. In a big snow year, it can extend into July but they peak is typically May and June.
Coloma Shuttle – South Fork only. 530-303-2404
American River Raft Rentals – Runs a daily shuttle bus and has a parking location. 888-338-RAFT
River Rat – Offers a 5 dollar shuttle at end of day on the lower river. 916-966-6777
Grateful Shuttle Service – 916-542-3526 Lower river
American River Fishing
The lower river is really interesting here. It has great access and fishing throughout the entire year. Shad, steelhead, salmon and striped bass make up a unique mix of species. The lower river starts below Folsom Dam and goes just over 20 miles.
The North Fork is designated Wild and Scenic and is dominated by beautiful rainbow trout. The South Fork below Chili Bar Reservoir is a popular whitewater stretch and also has a ton of rainbow trout. There are some big browns in here as well. It’s 20 miles from Chili Bar to Folsom Reservoir.
The Middle Fork doesn’t see many fisherman. Access is very limited and the only way to really get at it is by floating and taking on the rapids. Experienced rowers are mandatory. If you can make the float, the fishing is worth it.