Frequently Asked Questions


  • When is the best time of the year to raft the South Fork American River?


California has rafting nearly year round, but the most popular time to go is April through July for high water and maximum excitement. The early season, April-May, has great whitewater, while July-October still has plenty of action due to dam-released water.


  • Do I have to know how to swim well?


We recommend all participants have basic swimming abilities. If you are a non swimmer, then please consider booking a trip in the summer months when water levels are controlled. We do take non swimmers on our trips, please make sure to tell your guide that you are a non swimmer when you board the raft.


  •  Will I need a wetsuit?


Summer rafting on the South Fork American River does not require a wetsuit.


  • What should I bring?


For your rafting trip, you will need to wear shorts, swim suit, t-shirt, foot protection (old tennis shoes, booties or sport sandals). Everything that you wear on the raft will get wet, so please plan accordingly. Please do not bring valuable items (i.e. expensive clothes or shoes, jewelry, non-waterproof cameras or other items) with you on the raft as they may get wet or lost. We provide a drybox to each raft for your car keys, wallets and cell phones which will be transported to our lunch spot and takeout.


If you would like to have dry clothes and towels at our take-out please pack them in a duffel bag and we will transport your bag to our take-out by vehicle.


We also recommend that you bring a plastic bottle of drinking water for your use on the raft. 


  • What if I am a vegetarian?


We serve an all beef hot dog with beef chili at lunch. We also serve a veggie tray, fruit, chips and cookies, If you have other dietary restrictions, then please mention this when you book your trip on our "special requests field". If you have a special diet we recommend that you pack your own special lunch bag and we will transport it to our lunch spot. If we vary our menu to accommodate special diets we may do so at an additional charge, or you may bring your own lunch.


  • How many people go with each trip?


During weekdays, we have smaller sized groups, and the rivers are generally less crowded, making the solitude of the trip much better than on weekends. On weekends, we generally sell out and run the maximum group size listed on the calendar. Sundays are usually less crowded than Saturdays.


  •  What if the weather is bad?


We will run rafting trips in any condition of weather or we may give everyone the option to take a rain-check credit if the weather is extremely unpleasant at the check-in point. After April, the weather is usually perfect for rafting. 


  • Can we request a guide?


Guide requests are not available on our discounted trips. 


  • Is it appropriate to tip our guide after the trip?


Although a tip is not expected, if you feel your guide has done an exceptional job or gone that extra step to make your trip more enjoyable and memorable, then a tip is a very nice way to show your appreciation.


  • Can I reschedule or cancel my trip?


Reservations are final and cannot be rescheduled or refunded if you used a discounted trip voucher.

"We will definitely recommend the South Fork of the American Rafting to friends who are looking for a great rafting experience and look forward to another trip for ourselves." - David Miller