American River rafting is one of the most popular options for whitewater rafting in California. The river has drawn crowds ever since gold was discovered on the South Fork in 1848, and today, thousands of visitors still come, though they’re here for the river itself rather than the minerals in it. Each part of the river offers a unique set of rapids of varying levels of difficulty, but a great majority of South Fork American River is not recommended for beginners. Whether you’re here for just a couple of hours or a few days, American River white water rafting is one of the ultimate adventure experiences on water and one of the best things to do around Sacramento.
Often regarded as one of California’s best areas for white water rafting, the South Fork American River has a variety of exciting dips, drops, and rapids. Most of the entire stretch of water is consistently Class III difficulty for rapids, but for those beginners and less experienced paddlers, there is one small section from the Coloma to the Lotus, which drops down to Class II for a short time. For this reason, American River white water rafting is considered best for experienced adventurers, as the various rapids can very easily become very dangerous with the wrong hands on the paddle.
Adventurers planning for American River rafting can choose from a number of options for itineraries, including whether you travel down several sections of the river or just one, as well as how many days you’re on the water. While American River rafting is generally open to the public throughout the year, thanks to California’s mild climate, the accessibility is determined by the water runoff from melting snow, and during those years with less runoff, rafting is limited to certain areas from October to May, when the water levels decrease.
The land on either side of South Fork American River is owned by a variety of individuals, public as well as private. Some of the privately owned land belongs to rafting enterprises, ranchers, boaters, anglers, and general homeowners. Public property is marked by blue signs, and should the need or desire arise, rafters are encouraged to stop in these areas for picnics, camping, and simply resting.
In addition to being one of the most popular adventure sites, South Fork American River is also the center of an important page in history, the Gold Rush. In 1848, John Sutter discovered gold in what is now known as Marshall State Park and Sutter’s Mill, marking the beginning of the craze that so many rushed to California for a piece of the pie. Additionally, in the upper reaches of the river, rafters will see a historic irrigation system that was used to water the Coloma Valley years ago.
Historic, exciting, and a thrilling ride of a lifetime, American River rafting calls everyone to marvel at the beauties of the natural setting while embarking on a sensational journey down one of the state’s most popular raging rivers. It’s a great option if you’re looking for things to do outdoors during a trip to Sacramento or you want to add a little time on the water to a hiking vacation in the eastern part of the state.