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    California Whitewater Rafting W.E.T. River Trips

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    South Fork American - W.E.T. River Trips - Rafting in California

    South Fork American River- Rafting in California - Rafting Trips - Class 3-3+

    Rafting in California on the South Fork American River is an awesome 21 mile run just three hours northeast of San Francisco, 2-1/2 hours from Yosemite, 1-1/2 hours from Reno, 1-1/2 hours from Lake Tahoe and 45 minutes from Sacramento. Join W.E.T. River Trips on an American River whitewater one day trip that includes lunch or a two day trip with all meals plus camping. We camp at beautiful Camp Lotus in the Coloma/Lotus Valley just one hour east of Sacramento. Minimum age is 12 during high flows. Minimum age is 8 years old during regular summer flows. Season from March through September (October in good water years)!

    For Rafting trips, you can either call us or go directly to our online store and purchase your river trip now. Click on the image below. Everyday from March - mid-October.

  • Buy Now! Online Store
  • Chili Bar run Most popular!
  • Gorge run Family Trips
  • Full River Best Buy!
  • South Fork American is an ideal American River rafting trip or summer river rafting trip to combine with the various family fun activities in the El Dorado County area. If you are vacationing in the Bay Area or San Francisco, click here for attractions and lodging in the City by the Bay! If you are staying in the Sacramento area click here for Sacramento activities, attractions & sights!

    Trip Descriptions & Packages

    Best Bet! ~ Chili Bar Run 10.5 mi ~ Express

    More bang for your buck! This is the same Chili Bar run (see below for next description) but runs from 9am to noonish! Ideal for those of you planning to head to Lake Tahoe (1.5 hrs away) after your trip is done.

    We meet at 9AM at Camp Lotus and we are back approximaely noonish. At Camp Lotus, there are picnic facilities and grills for those of you barbecuing after this trip. From the campground, you can drive on Hwy 50 towards Lake Tahoe's south shore and enjoy yourselves! Or head to Sutter's Mill just above the campground to spend time at the famous Gold Rush center with docents, museums and a wonderful picnic area provided by California State Parks. Hot showers are available at Camp Lotus.

    1) Chili Bar Run 10.5 mi with lunch

    Most popular section of the river! The first 10.5 miles of the South Fork is a tumbling run over Class III whitewater with names like Meatgrinder, Racehorse Bend and the world-reknown "Troublemaker Rapid!"

    We meet @ 9:00 am at Camp Lotus (just downstream from Coloma State Park) and we are back to this meeting point approximately between 2:30 - 3:00 pm (or 1:30 - 2:30 pm if high water). See itinerary for this rafting trip.

    Lunch is included and this trip is ideal for the beginner, novice, family rafting trips, teen rafting programs, & larger groups. See the discounts.

    2) Gorge Run 11 mi with lunch

    Ideal for acclimating beginners to whitewater rafting. The Gorge Run is the next 11 mile section of the Southfork and starts peacefully after we put-in at Camp Lotus. Soon we enter the Gorge and the rollercoaster begins! Haystack Canyon, Lost Hat, Satan's Cesspool (as seen on PBS DragonFly TV) & Hospital Bar are some of the rapids that you will negotiate.

    We meet @ 10:00 am and we are back to Camp Lotus around 4:30 pm. Lunch is included and this trip is ideal for beginners, novices, teen rafting trips, families with children & larger groups. See itinerary for this rafting trip. Or Buy this trip!

    3) Full River run 21 mi with lunch

    Recommend athletic users only. The Full River One Day run is for the enthusiast! 21 miles of rapids ranging from Class III - III+ - IV-. The Full River run is best in the Spring when the water is higher. We ask that you are athletic and in good cardiovascular health.

    We meet at 9:00 am at Camp Lotus and return back at around 4:30 to 5:00 pm. Novices are welcome, but we recommend athletic paddlers on this river workout! At the end of your day, go visit the infamous Coloma Club for music and fun. See discounts. (Just add a camping and dinner package for a great way to end this trip!)

    BEST BUY for Spring! Full River online store discount

    4) Chili Bar run 10.5 mi with lunch, camping & dinner

    Most popular package in the bunch! We meet at 9:00 am at Camp Lotus for the Chili Bar run. (See Chili Bar description above) After this American River rafting trip is over, instead of jumping into your car for the mad dash home, you stay with us in our camp and the guides prepare your dinner! This is our most popular package for the Bay Area folks who are looking for "not-quite-all-the-weekend" trip. Go home in the morning refreshed & relaxed from your California whitewater rafting trip. See itinerary for this rafting trip.

    5) Two Day River Trip 21 mi w/camping & meals - Standard

    Two Day Trip meets at 9:00 am and runs the Chili Bar section on the first day and have lunch on the river. Later that afternoon we pull in to Camp Lotus to begin hors d'ouevres and dinner. Camping under the stars with a fire lulls us to sleep as we prepare for the second day. After breakfast, we head for the Gorge section for an additional 11 miles with lunch on the river again. We arrive back into camp around 4:00pm. See itinerary for this rafting trip.

    This is an ideal package for the weekend rafter who wants shower facilities and "civilized" bathrooms. For wilderness two day river trips, please see below.

    6) Two Day River Trip 21 mi - South Fork American Wilderness Trip

    This Two Day Wilderness River Trip is ideal for the beginner who has never been on a wilderness rafting trip. Without committing to a longer, extended trip such as the 5-day Klamath River, Rogue or the 12-day Colorado through the Grand Canyon. This short 2-day package will let you glimpse into future river rafting trips throughout the country. Camping & meals included.

    Ideal for the outdoor family who enjoy getting away from the campgrounds. Also, ideal for bachelor groups who want to get away from the crowds. Please note that there are no shower faciliites or flush toilets on the wilderness trips. That's why we call it wilderness! Email our office for questions.

    7) Combination Rafting Trips

    COMBO Trips are two or three days on different forks of the American River. You can increase your paddling skills by starting with the South Fork, then do the Middle Fork American and/or the North Fork American. We advise athletic paddlers who have the stamina to complete 40 miles in two days or 50 miles in 3-days!

    South Fork American River Resources:

  • Here are helpful pages for planning a rafting trip on the South Fork American River.
  • Accommodations and Lodging
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  • El Dorado County Notice:

  • The Water flows in the Southfork American River result from releases from hydroelectric facilities located upstream. Such water relases are not subject to the control of El Dorado County or commercial rafting companies operating under permits."
  • W.E.T. River Trips operates under the following permits:
  • California State Parks
  • El Dorado County
  • El Dorado Co Environmental Health and Safety
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • US Forest Service and other governing agencies.
  • W.E.T. River Trips is a member of
  • America Outdoors
  • California Outdoors
  • Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce
  • El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce
  • Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Sacramento Convention & Visitor Bureau
  • Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce
  • Friends of the River
  • and is a member of several river management advisory committees.
  • W.E.T. River Trips is an equal opportunity service provider.
  • For more information on Youth groups, Churches, Scouts, and high-risk Youth groups, please call our office at 1.888.RAFTWET or email us:.