South Fork of the American River

South Fork of the American River

The South Fork of the American River is widely regarded as one of the top destinations for whitewater rafting adventure. This spectacular River features 21 miles of class 3 rapids and countless fun play spots which attract whitewater enthusiasts from around the globe. The South Fork also has some of the most dependable water flows in the U.S. allowing river runners to visit this stretch year round. 

The South Fork has 2 different sections of rapids which are both rated Class 3 - Medium level:

Upper Section - Commonly referred to as the "Chili Bar Section", this 8 mile stretch runs through a forrested canyon with many distinct rapids. The rapids start off within a mile of the put-in point and end with the biggest rapid on the river "Troublemaker Rapid". This trip can be completed in under 3 hours from start to finish. Trips depart in the morning due to the release of water upstream at Chili Bar dam.

Lower Section - Most people call this the "Lower Gorge Section" due to the famous 6 mile section of non-stop rapids at the end of this trip. The scenery is spectacular due to the surrounding public land in the lower stretch. Our trips launch from our resort at 1:00PM and start out with a liesurely float through the Coloma valley until the first rapids start. This makes a nice warm-up stretch for first timers and young children. Our trips end at Folsom Lake where a shuttle bus will tke you back to the starting point. has been offering professionally guided rafting tours on the South Fork American River since 1980. Join us on a trip this year and see what all the excitement is about!

South Fork of the American River Trips

  • River Tubing and day use at River Park Resort

    River Tubing and day use at River Park Resort

    Go River Tubing on the Lotus section of the South Fork American River.  Enjoy floating the exciting waters of this scenic stretch of river with one of our skilled and friendly guides. Our trips are designed to be low risk and will comply with current California health guidelines during the phase 2 reopening. Minimum age is 12 years.

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  • Chili Bar Rafting Trip

    Chili Bar Rafting Trip

    Join us for a 4 hour guided rafting trip on the most exciting section of the South Fork of the American River!

    This trip meets at 9:00AM and includes 8 miles of class 3 rapids.

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"Best trip ever!" - Roland French