South Fork American River Rafting

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Number of days


Start Location

OARS American River Outpost

End Location

OARS American River Outpost

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Grab a paddle, hop into a big yellow raft, and get ready for some wet, wild and adventurous fun on the South Fork of the American River near Sacramento, CA!

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Guiding life's greatest adventures since 1969. OARS is one of the most trusted names in rafting and the company is consistently ranked among the top adventure travel outfit...

Additional Information

Don't let names like Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Satan's Cesspool and Hospital Bar scare you; the South Fork of the American River offers some of the most exciting Class III whitewater in California and is perfect for beginners, families and anyone who just wants a day out paddling in the California sunshine. Our South Fork American River rafting trips through the rolling Sierra Foothills offer the perfect way to cool off on a warm California day. Whether you're new to rafting and just want to "get your feet wet," or you just don't have time to fit a multi-day adventure into your schedule, one of our South Fork American River rafting trip options will surely be the perfect choice. About an hour from Sacramento, and just an hour and a half from Lake Tahoe, rafting the South Fork American River is a quick and relatively easy option for an exciting family or group adventure. Whether paddling through thrilling rapids or swimming alongside the raft, lots of splashy good times are guaranteed.

  • South Fork American River rafting trips are perfect for families & groups
  • Paddle exciting Class III rapids like Troublemaker, Satan's Cesspool & Hospital Bar
  • Cool off in the river while swimming through fun rapids & calm pools
  • Splashy, fun whitewater rafting through rolling, wooded hills & rocky gorges
  • FREE camping, showers & restrooms available at OARS American River Outpost

OARS 1/2-day and 1-day South Fork American River rafting trips begin at OARS American River Outpost. 

For our 1/2-day trip, we'll take a 25-minute shuttle ride to the Chili Bar section of the South Fork American River where the boats and rest of the OARS crew await. Meatgrinder rapid is the exciting initiation to splashy, big-water fun on this section of the river. Racehorse Bend, Triple Threat and Troublemaker deliver more thrills as the rafts float through golden hills blanketed with greenery and drift in between calm pools and exciting stretches of whitewater. Those wishing to cool off and swim are encouraged to jump in as we get close to camp. Once we return to the campground, we encourage you to explore our nature trails, play campground games or just savor your time along the river any way you like.

For our 1-day rafting trips, we'll board our rafts from the beach at the campground for a day of fun and sun on the exciting Gorge section of the American River. Beautiful river scenes stretch out around us as we enjoy several miles of Class II warm-up rapids like Barking Dog and plenty of swimming opportunities. Before entering the ever-exciting  Gorge we'll enjoy a delicious riverside picnic lunch. The afternoon brings the biggest, most exciting whitewater on the South Fork, including Fowler's Rock, Satan's Cesspool and Hospital Bar. Salmon Falls Bridge signals the end of our trip and a shuttle awaits for the ride back to OARS American River Outpost.



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