Labor Day Weekend Raft Trip South & Middle Forks American River

The section of the South Fork of the American River that we will be paddling is located between Placerville and Folsom Lake (Sacramento areas).  The Middle Fork is accessed by Auburn.  We will be camping at the American River Resort and rafting the South Fork on Saturday and the Middle Fork on Sunday. Monday will be an optional river or travel day. The South Fork is suitable for beginners. The Middle Fork is a bit more adventurous and rafting experience will be helpful. Camping fees will be extra.  (Please also review my comments to learn the latest updates for the trip.)

This trip will be advertised on several meet ups. In order to secure a spot, you will have to get in touch with me and I will confirm that you have a spot. Once I confirm that you have a spot, you will need to make a $25 payment to me via PayPal to reserve your spot.

The trip will feature two amazing rivers.  It is possible that we could have some people participate on one river and not the other.  Please let me know what preferences you might have.  I have expanded the sign ups to 14 people.  This is expecting that we can shuffle people into various trips.  As we have 3 days, we could have a rest day of hiking or possibly a kayaking lesson.  If you want to paddle the Middle Fork, please watch the videos that I have linked to below so that you will understand what the river is like.  If you don't want to paddle the Middle Fork, I will attempt to place you on an additional South Fork trip.

We will be rafting on the South Fork of the American River between Chili Bar and the Salmon Falls Bridge for the first day. This river is located just east of Sacramento. The route is 20 miles in length and features several Class 3 rapids. It is a great trip for beginner rafters who are in reasonably good shape. You can read more about it here:

Assuming everyone is ready for a more challenging trip, we will paddle the Middle Fork of the American River either on Sunday or Monday. The Middle Fork features the famous "Tunnel Chute Rapid" which is either a Class 4 or 5 depending on the viewpoint. If you are swimming it, you'd probably think its a 5. ;-) Here is a write up on the Middle Fork: You might want to review these videos on You Tube about the Middle Fork: and this one features flipping a boat:

We can tailor the trip to the skills and interest of those on the trip.

There will be a $25.00 charge which will be collected at the Denny's meeting place. It's possible we could all meet at the American River Resort Campground in Coloma. The fee will cover our expenses of parking, put in fees and a tow across Lake Folsom. There will be charges for individual camping and for gas that we will be individually responsible for.

We will be leaving a car at the end of the run (take out), the lunch spot and the start (put in) so it takes about two hours to position he cars before we can get in the river. The Middle Fork takes considerable time to set up the shuttle. We would welcome someone on the trip that would like to camp, but not raft. Possibly, two people could split up the two or three days of rafting.

What you need to bring: A hat, or helmet (if you prefer), clothes you can swim in, a liter water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses with leash, water shoes, a change of clothes, money for fees and meals. For camping you will need a tent, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag. Likely we will be responsible for our own meals, but we can make that a topic later.

The raft is a 14 foot, self bailing, commercial grade raft. You will be provided a life vest (PFD) and a paddle. A lost paddle will cost $50, so hold on to those paddles.


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  • Kathy A.

    fun folks, but very disorganized

    September 10, 2012

  • David E.

    This was the best trip of the season. We had a great group of people who all enjoyed getting together and sharing a whitewater experience. We paddled 20.5 miles on Saturday and Sunday on the South Fork of the American and 16 miles on the Middle Fork on Monday. The whitewater was great on each of these days. Everyone made new friends and had a great time.

    September 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    We had an amazing trip! Everyone was so easy going and friendly - thank you!!

    September 4, 2012

  • David E.

    The trip is full. There is a chance that up to three people might not make it, but at this moment, I expect that not to be the case. It appears that there will be some additional boats joining us. I *might* be able to get additional people in the other boats. However, there is no promise. Additional people might have to enjoy swimming, camping, hiking and touring the gold rush state park. If you would like to join in without the guarantee of a spot in the boat, let me know. The following people are confirmed on the trip and have a spot in the raft.

    Christine Zon
    Faith Byron
    Jessie To
    Laura Stivers
    Marijke Stivers
    Annelies Stivers
    Christina Harrision
    Alan Longcor
    Susan Sulc
    Irene Muir
    Bryan Sproul
    Prakash Heda
    David Engel

    August 27, 2012

  • susan

    Hi, David,

    Is there a space left for me? I emailed you Sat regarding more details, and I am not sure if you included me on your confirmed list since I am not sure how to make a deposit with your paypal account.

    I do have some questions:

    Will we be setting up camp after dark? In an earlier email the meeting time was 9pm, but I am not sure if that is the meetup time or the time at camp. I can go up earlier on Friday. Please clarify.

    Also - I am still not sure I understand the total cost of this trip. I looked at the map of the campsite, how many tents can you have in one space and if 2 share a tent, is it still $12.50 each?

    As in a previous email, I understand there's a $25 deposit, what does that cover. Is there an additional $25 fee for the raft, pkg, etc.?

    If you still have room, please call me to discuss the details. [masked]-5336.

    Thanks - Susan

    August 22, 2012

  • David E.

    This event has been posted on 3 Meet Up Groups and is full, or nearly full. It would be good to add another guy.

    August 22, 2012

  • David E.

    Here is the latest updates for the raft trip. Today, I reserved our campsite at the American River Resort. It is likely that we will use this as the place to meet on Friday night. Stay tuned for updates. We have a group campsite in a nice spot and close to the bathrooms/showers. It is in a grassy area next to a pond. The river is a 2 minute walk. The fee for camping will be $12.50 per person per night. Children pay the same as adults. Therefore, all three nights would be $37.50. It is very hard to find a place to camp here on holiday weekends. This is a great place to stay. I will have about 60 other rafting friends in the campground so there will be plenty of people to meet in the rafting world. I have paid the deposit for the campsite. Here is a link to the campground website:

    American River Resort
    6019 New River Road, Coloma, CA
    (530)[masked] ‎

    August 20, 2012

  • David E.

    I have revised the trip description to cover updates. Please check back to see the latest. At this time, there are 4 people that are signed up. I have changed the trip to allow for 14 people. I will try to balance the ability and preferences of the people on the trip. We might not be able to bring 14 people, but we will try.

    August 19, 2012

  • Tuan T.

    I'm definitely interested in joining you at this meetup, however, I'm waiting to see what my work schedule will be like for that weekend. Hopefully I have that weekend off and be able to come. if i do go, I can bring some korean bbq to share.

    August 18, 2012

  • susan

    This looks great...I have been down both forks of the American and I like camping for the weekend. Need some details:

    Meet up at what time? Where? Friday?
    In addition to $50 or is it $25 what is the camping fee? and shared gas expense...just need to get an idea of cost. Please let me know.

    Thankss - Susan

    August 18, 2012

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