Where to Raft in California
There is no better way to experience the beauty of California than by whitewater rafting on one of its beautiful rivers. But there are so many so here are some things to consider when trying to choose your whitewater rafting trip in California.
1. The age range of your rafting group
The best Californian river to raft if you have a group with a diverse age range is the South Fork of the American River in Coloma. The South Fork of the American River is a great trip at normal summer flows for people aged 6+. That is not to say it's a float trip, the South Fork of the American River is actually Class III and has some of our most favorite rapids in the US! To learn more about the classification system click here. At normal flows the South Fork of the American River is playful, fun and has something for everyone. For the timid and the more wild this river makes it easy to please your whole group!
In years where there is a very wet winter the Spring snow melt can turn the South Fork into a very different beast over the spring months and may change the minimum age requirements. This is not true every year so be sure to give us a call for more information if you are planning a March-May rafting trip.
To learn more about rafting trips on the South Fork of the American click one of the links below.
For groups that are looking for something with a little bit more fear factor, a little bit more of a thrill and maybe some unintentional falling out then a class IV adventure may be for you. There are minimum age requirements depending on the river. This is mainly because of the need to self-rescue or at least actively participate in one's own rescue should you fall out of the boat. The Middle Fork of the American River is a minimum age of 12 years old. The North Fork of the American River is a minimum age of 12-14 years old depending on the flow and section. The Kaweah River minimum age is 12-14 years old depending on flows and section. Click on a link below to learn more about these trips.
2. The Fitness Factor of Your Rafting Group
It is important in any adventure activity to be aware of the physical limitations of your group. For a lot of people who are not particularly athletic and don't swim well the South Fork of the American River is going to feel very challenging but totally achievable, and that is probably as far as they will need to go to get a thrill. You don't have to be a muscle bound gym junkie to go on class IV but being able to swim, paddle and have your heart rate up comfortably for an extended period of time is very important, and even still class IV may be out of the comfort zone of some more athletic paddlers. Adventure activities are a great time to be really honest about what you and other members of your group are looking for in your vacation!
The forks of the American River are all located near River Runners' base camp in Coloma/Lotus California. If you are coming to raft from far away, why not make a two day of it?! Our most popular two-day rafting trip is the South Fork of the American River. This trip is really popular with folks driving up from the Los Angeles area, and they often add extra days of camping on to their trips to take some time to chill out too. We provide all meals, tents, firewood and even smores for your deluxe camping experience. It is camping without the work! You just bring your sleeping bag, pillow and air bed. If you would like to use one of our comfy AIRE sleeping pads ask us if we have some available.
The Kaweah River is about three hours for Los Angeles and has great accommodation near by. It is also located right near the entrance to Sequoia National Park so why not go visit those old giants while you are there!