Why We Love This Tour

“If you’re a thrill seeker, you’ll love this whitewater rafting tour! Not only will it get your blood pumping, but you’ll get some amazing historical facts about the California Gold Country along the way.”

– Lauren C.

Tour Highlights

  • 15 miles of exciting whitewater rapids
  • Professional river guides
  • ALL rafting and safety equipment provided
  • Enjoy a delicious river-side picnic lunch
  • “Gold Country” history and views


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Retail Price: $304 adult/$294 child*

Web Price: $294 adult/$284 child*

*child rates are 8-12 (children under 8 years or 80 lbs cannot participate in rafting). Rates for tours beyond this year may have adjusted pricing; see booking page for exact rates.

Whitewater Rafting Tour - Make new friends!
American River Rafting
Get ready for fun!
American River Rafting
Descend 8 miles of class II and III rapids on the wet and wild American River!

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Whitewater Rafting Tour Through Gold Country

Raft the South Fork of the American River in the heart of California’s Gold Country!

Our Whitewater Rafting Tour tour takes you into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains for an exhilarating day on the water: you’ll descend 15 miles down the American River, navigating Class III rapids such as the Meat Grinder, Triple Threat and Troublemaker. During the trip you will also float past the historic gold discovery site of Sutter’s Mill. No prior rafting experience is required: you’ll have all the gear provided to you, and a professional river guide with you in the raft!

In the middle of your exciting day whitewater rafting, you’ll pull to shore and kick back with a delicious picnic lunch by the river’s edge (included). Finally, in the afternoon, you’ll head back to base camp to dry off before heading back to the city by the bay.

**Note: Your safety is our main concern. A brief safety talk is given before anyone gets in the water. The South Fork of the American River is a Class III river system. This is ideal for beginners as well as intermediate paddlers. No prior whitewater experience is necessary, but participants are required to weigh at least 80 pounds and be at least 8 years of age to participate.**


Morning – Leaving San Francisco

6:00 – 7:00am: Pick ups from San Francisco Hotels

7:00 – 10:00am: We head east across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which offers great views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the East Bay. We stop for a quick snack/breakfast in the Central Valley (not included). Famous for its rich volcanic soil, the Central Valley is a booming agricultural region known for almonds, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and strawberries. Then we continue our journey up through the cattle and horse ranching foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the American River.

10:00 – 12:00am: After checking in and getting changed, you’ll be shuttled to the put-in. You will be given a short pre-trip briefing by your trip-leader, which will cover what to bring and what not to bring on the raft. You can ask lots of questions as well so you get a better understanding of what to expect on your rafting trip. Then you’ll be given a lifejacket, helmet and paddle, and your guides will make sure your gear is a proper fit. They will then give you a detailed safety talk and show you how to sit in the raft and how to paddle.

Afternoon – Rafting on the South Fork

12:00 – 2:00pm: This South Fork rafting trip starts off with a slower pace consisting of mostly Class 1 and 2 rapids, great for warming up before getting into the bigger Class 3 whitewater. So sit back on the boat, enjoy and soak up the sun. After about an hour and half of mellow rafting and enjoying the scenery, it’s time to get fueled up with a hearty lunch.

2:00-5:00pm: After lunch, it’s time to get back on the river! Sit up and lock your feet in as you enter the Gorge Section on the South Fork with all the big rapids. Soon you will be getting very wet, paddling as well as laughing your way down rapids like Fowlers Rock, Triple Threat, Satan’s Cesspool, Hospital Bar. The few hours of rafting after lunch go by fast as you paddle from one exciting rapid to another. After all the enjoyment of whitewater rafting your trip will culminate with your rafts entry onto Folsom Lake. The last few miles of flat water are made effortless, as the raft is towed out by a Honda Jet Ski!

Evening – Heading back to San Francisco

5:00 – 7:30pm: Back on land, you’ll dry off and hop back into the vehicle to head back to the city. The tour ends with a hotel drop off between 8:00 and 8:30 pm.

**Sample Itineraries: Please note that due to the day’s conditions (special events, traffic) and the small size of our vehicles/groups, we can allow our guides the flexibility to tailor your itinerary to best suit the needs of the group. While we guarantee that we’ll do our best to provide you with all of the highlights within this itinerary (conditions permitting), we do not guarantee them in this specific order. **

Tour Details

About Your Whitewater Rafting Tour

Departure: Fridays, May – September. Picks up from most SF hotels between 6 a.m. – 7 a.m.

Duration: 1 full day (~12 hours)

Transportation: Comfortable, eco-friendly biofueled mini-coach (14 passengers max)


  • Complimentary pickup/dropoff from your San Francisco hotel
  • Full-time professional, knowledgeable guide
  • Transportation to/from the river in biofuel-powered mini-coach
  • ALL rafting gear (6-8 person raft, helmet, paddle, life vest, wetsuit/booties/paddle jacket)
  • Professional river guide for each raft
  • Tasty river-side picnic lunch

Not included:

  • Professional photos taken of rafters (can be purchased during lunchtime)
  • Guide and river guide gratuities (optional)


PLEASE READ: Our terms/conditions and cancellation policy


Review your tour

Fun for Everyone!

I had a couple of ladies that were unsure whether the whitewater rafting was something that they really wanted to do, but Heather reassured them and made them feel a little bit better about the trip. She really made us feel like she was part of the group and we had been friends for years.

– Debra Kitchens Traveled June 2013 American River Whitewater Rafting

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