Rafting is an exciting activity for the whole family. Northern California’s vast array of picturesque scenery and rivers makes it perfect for some summer rafting fun. Check out some of our favorite locations around the region for some good old rafting fun!
The South Fork of the American River, located just forty miles east of Sacramento, is an excellent location for beginners and returning rafters due to its exhilarating but not intimidating rapids. I recommend the South Fork for its fun but not too difficult rapids and wonderful scenery of the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
For those who want to go a step above the South Fork, there is the Middle Fork of the American River. These rapids are famous for their chutes and large drops, making it a thrill for more experienced rafters. This part of the American River is most well know for its Tunnel Chute, a steep and narrow chute of rushing whitewater that crashes over a 6-foot drop and running through a 90-foot long rock tunnel.
A great river for both veterans and active beginners, the North Fork of the Yuba River has varying difficult throughout and is relatively uncrowded for its location though scenic Tahoe National Forest. The river runs for 28 miles with sections starting easy then concludes with the North Forks infamous Class 5 “Maytag” rabid, but don’t worry, the rafting guide allow this section to be optional.
Ranked as one of the most difficult rivers in California, the California Salmon River is filled with rapids of the steep, powerful, and often long variety. To the experienced rafter, this is one of the most rewarding runs because of its lush foliage and waterfalls among high cliffs on either side of the river. The beauty of the canyon has even made it into a protected National Wild and Scenic River.
For locals of Northern California, the Truckee River is one of the closest white water rafting locations for residents of Lake Tahoe and Reno. The river runs east of Truckee towards Reno, from the higher elevation of pine forests to the cottonwood banks of the High Sierra Desert. One perk of this location is so tours will sometimes arrange group transportation from Reno and Lake Tahoe areas, for a fee of course.