Whitewater River Rafting

Wet Thrills near San Francisco

Raft the whitewater - nothing beats it...

Many rafting companies near Auburn offer one day rafting trips for about $100 per person. Two day trips including camping, dinner, and lunches go for about $225. The rafting is about three hours east of San Francisco near Sacramento on the American River's different forks. Trips run from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. so you don't even have to stay over.

River rafting is a blast and the guides really take care of you. All of the companies are highly recommended for a great trip on the river.

The editors of SFTravel.com took a wild ride on the Middle Fork of the American River with the rafting company. Here is our story.

New!: "Have you Tried" Vendor Specialties
Lower Klamath River - River Dancers Yoga on The River:

Yoga in the redwood trees from the sandy riverbanks of the Siskiyou Wilderness. Every day's rafting starts with meditation and yoga. You'll need the relaxation to start a wild day of rafting on the Klamath River. The combination of calming yoga with wild Class 2-4 rapids makes for one great trip. 800-926-5002

American River - Adventure Connection Wine Tasting and Rapids Jumping:

Enjoy a day of wine and then raft down California's American River. El Dorado is the land of Zinfadel, and you'll be on a guided tour of the area's best wineries. Don't drink too much! Afterwards, its rapids with names like Troublemaker, Meatgrinder, and Triple Threat. Make a toast to your safe return at your campsite and get ready for another day. 800-556-6060

We arrived in Auburn, California at 8am to meet up with the group. Auburn is around 2.5 hours from San Francisco—make sure to leave enough time to get there on time. The meeting place is at a grocery store with bathrooms and snacks.

On a rafting trip, you can end up in the river, so you should bring absolutely nothing with you that you are not ready to lose. This includes your car keys which should be carefully hidden. The rafting company has you sign a waiver of liability and provides you a safety lecture which is very helpful. We then boarded an air conditioned van to drive through a beautiful wooded canyon to the river’s drop-in zone. The drive was beautiful and a great beginning to the trip.

The American River’s Middle Fork is controlled usage by the park service with a very limited number of rafts allowed rafting each day. The season is also determined by dam flows and is relatively short. You cannot just raft the Middle Fork any day you feel like it. In general, the Middle Fork is a "step-up" from the commonly rafted South Fork and a lot more fun. The Middle Fork includes Class5 rapids which are WILD!

Our guide, provided us with a 2nd safety lecture and instructions on rafting. The Middle Fork is commonly a 2nd rafting trip for most people who have already rafted other easier rivers. Safety is treated with extreme respect in the rafting business as injuries can occur and the river can do things very quickly in a rapids situation.

Our group was composed of your faithful editor, along with three women and one guy from San Francisco (all residents). The rest of the group worked together – Ray, Chris, Melissa, and Stephanie and was a lot of fun. Our guide had been leading rafting trips for over 20 years and was incredibly experienced. This may be the biggest difference between a bargain rafting company and a quality rafting experience.

The Middle Fork starts with a bang as within 10 minutes it takes your through the Class5 Tunnel Chute. This means your group better get it together REAL FAST. What is the Tunnel Chute? After a brief churning rapids with turns, you move through a drenching, pouring, waterfall situation down into the raft as you raft through a very narrow chute. This section puts everyone into the center of the raft and is an incredible experience. I would describe this as the highlight of the trip and where photos are taken so SMILE!

Other highlights of the trip were a ten foot vertical drop at Rock A Chucky falls – the raft drops down a 10 foot drop and you see it all. This is safer than it sounds and you hang onto a strap during this portion. Larger falls are portaged around by all rafting companies for safety reasons that will become obvious when you see them.

A final highlight was our guide’s ability to "surf" the self-bailing raft. The raft is placed in a swirling pool and water rushes into the raft from one side. Then the raft is spun around and water rushes in from the other side. This is really fun, especially on a hot day.

Our guide, did a great job in tailoring the trip to meet the group’s needs. He got us wet lots on the hot day and kept things safe. He knew when to tell jokes and have fun and when to get down to business to keep our butts in the raft! The quality of the guide really makes the trip.

Halfway through this 17 mile, 6 hour trip, the rafting company put out an incredible and delicious lunch. They even set up lunch in a nice, shady area (it was hot!) near a beach where clients could swim. The lunch, considering it was brought through Class5 rapids was excellent and delicious. There was deli meats but also plenty of appropriate choices for vegetarians.

This is my third rafting trip with the rafting company and I cannot recommend this life experience enough. If you have been rafting before, do not miss the American River’s Middle Fork.

Limousine Tours To River Rafting