California > American River Fork, Cork & Paddle

American River Fork, Cork & Paddle

1 Day $219
Trip Highlights
  • Paddle the South Fork American's exciting Class III rapids like Satan's Cesspool & Hospital Bar
  • Enjoy a gourmet farm to table meal and local wine tasting
  • Easy drive from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and Sacramento
  • FREE or upgraded camping, showers & restrooms available at O.A.R.S. River Park Adventure Campground
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(3 reviews)

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveller Best of the Bay Area Winner
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Call Toll Free: 800-346-6277 or enter the month and year you want to go on this trip.
The season runs May - September.


Travel Months *
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August September

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Departure Dates

May 11; June 7; July 11, 18 (American River Brews Trip); August 9; September 6

Custom trips for larger groups of 15 or more may be available upon request. Please call for details.

Meeting Place

O.A.R.S. River Park Adventure Campground

7330 River Park Drive, Lotus, CA  95651

38.806327, -120.903538

Adjacent to where Hwy 49 crosses the river, behind Hotshot Imaging and the River Park shopping center

Ask about our free camping for rafters!

CAMPGROUND MAP

Price

$219

20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More! (call for details)

Additional Costs:

$8 per person federal, state and local access fees

Ask about our free camping for rafters!*

Rental Options:

  • Sleep Kit (sleeping bag with pad, pillow & sheet): $25/person for up to 2 nights
  • 2-Person Tent: $30 for up to 2 nights
  • 4-Person Family Tent: $50 for up to 2 nights
  • 2-Person Pre-set Platform Tent (with 2 cots & sleep kits): $100 per night + tax (Special! only $50 for additional night)

*Camping for non-rafters: $10 per person per night


River Rating Minimum Age
Class III21 Yrs
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American River Fork Cork & Paddle: Overview

Download Itinerary

Experience delectable gourmet farm to table cuisine and superb local Sierra wines paired with exciting whitewater on the South Fork of the American River near Sacramento, CA. This unique getaway combines fun whitewater rafting on the Class III South Fork American with a multi-course meal featuring free-range, organic meat and locally-grown produce. This paired with wine tasting is our version of a perfect California adventure.  This quick escape is an easy drive from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, and custom trips for larger groups are available upon request.

American River Fork, Cork & Paddle: Gourmet farm-to-fork dinner with local wines Itinerary at a Glance

  • Meet at at 10:30 AM at O.A.R.S. River Park Adventure Campground located at 7330 River Park Drive, Lotus, CA 95651
  • After a thorough safety talk, hop into the rafts for a day of splashy adventure
  • Go for an invigorating swim alongside the raft to cool off
  • Stop along the river for a delicious deli-style picnic lunch under the shady oak trees
  • Raft the South Fork American River's Class III Gorge Run through rapids like Satan’s Cesspool and Hospital Bar
  • Return to River Park Adventure Campground to shower and freshen up before the farm-to-fork dinner
  • Enjoy a multi-course meal featuring free-range organic meat and locally-grown produce prepared by a gourmet chef
  • Taste local wines from the foothills of the Sierra, presented by a knowledgeable representative from the winery
  • As a lovely end to the evening, guests are invited to camp overnight at River Park Adventure Campground

Show Mile By Mile Guide

South Fork of the American River Wine & Raft:
Mile by Mile Guide


Lower South Fork American ~ The Gorge

Mile 8.0
O.A.R.S. base camp for one-day rafting trips.
O.A.R.S. South Fork American River rafting passengers park their vehicles at our River Park Adventure Campground 7330 River Park Drive, Lotus, CA  95651. Located on eleven gorgeous acres, stretching over a third of a mile on the riverfront, our camp offers modern shower and bathroom facilities, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe rings, tons of lawn game sets, and an unequalled list of amenities for your comfort.

Guests will be returned to the campground upon completing their whitewater journey.
Mile 11.1
HIGHWAY RAPID (II+). A long, curving rock garden..
Mile 11.5
SWIMMER’S RAPID (II) Swimmer's Rapid is a great spot for rafting passengers to jump in and experience what it feels like to swim a rapid.  It is a fun wave train rapid.
Mile 12.2
Public restrooms.  These are the only public facilities on the South Fork American River whitewater rafting trip.
Mile 13.9
Gorilla Rock.  This rock, sometimes referred to as Convict Rock, really looks like a gorilla.
Mile 15.8
FOWLER’S ROCK (III).  Fowler's Rock is the first big rapid on the South Fork’s lower section.  The river bends left into a short pool then back to the right where a boulder cluster marks the entry to the rapid.

Interesting fact: Entrance to ‘The Gorge’ occurs after the third sighting of the Lollipop Tree.  This tree can be spotted atop a distant hill and does indeed resemble a lollipop.
Mile 16.9
SATAN’S CESSPOOL (III+).  This is the biggest rapid in the Gorge Run of the South Fork American River. A rock above the final drop provides a good vantage point for photographers and spectators.  Professional photographers are frequently stationed here with their cameras.
Mile 17.0
SON OF SATAN’S or DEAD MAN’S DROP (II+).
Mile 17.4
SCISSORS (III).  The river turns left down a narrow, rocky chute with big, irregular waves.
Mile 17.6
LOWER HAYSTACK CANYON (II+).  A fun, bouncy rapid with big standing waves and short drops in a narrow section of the river canyon.
Mile 18.1
Weber Creek – a large, year-round creek on river left.
Mile 18.2
BOUNCING ROCK (II+).  This rapid provides a bouncy whitewater ride.
Mile 18.6
HOSPITAL BAR (III).  Named for a medical tent set up here during the Gold Rush, this is the last big, splashy rapid on The Gorge Run.  A rock chute that bends left and then right provides surprising whitewater fun.  Professional photographers are sometimes stationed here with their cameras.
Mile 18.8
RECOVERY ROOM (II+).  Big, fun waves and clean drops.
Mile 19.4
SURPRISE RAPID (II).  If the Folsom Reservoir is full, there will be a flat-water paddle or a tow-out, and this rapid will be under water.  Class II rapids continue to mile 20 if the reservoir is low.   It is a treat to find Surprise Rapid uncovered!
Mile 20.5
TAKE OUT (end) for O.A.R.S. full-day trips.
TAKE OUT for the South Fork American River is at Salmon Falls Bridge at Folsom Reservoir.

Information for this Mile by Mile guide was gathered from the books “California Whitewater” and “A Guide to the Best Whitewater in the State of California,” as well as from a variety of sources on the Internet.

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  • Legend
  • Directions

From Sacramento on U.S. Hwy 50

Follow Hwy 50 east toward Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. Take the Ponderosa Rd exit (Exit #37), turn left onto Ponderosa/S. Shingle Rd and cross over the freeway. At the second stop light, take the right turn on N. Shingle Rd toward Coloma/Lotus.

After about 4.5 miles N. Shingle Rd turns into Lotus Rd—continue going straight for about 6 more miles. As you approach Lotus, pass through the town’s first stop sign and continue to the 3-way stop sign intersection with Hwy 49. Turn left onto Hwy 49 (north) and cross the bridge over the South Fork of the American. Right after crossing the river, you will see the “River Park” shopping center on the left, with signs for Hotshot Imaging. Please use the center’s second entrance, where a left-turn lane is provided at River Park Dr. Look to the back of the center, where you will see the entrance to our River Park Adventure Campground.

From South Lake Tahoe

Take Hwy 50 west to Placerville. Turn right on Hwy 49 (north) and follow the directions from Placerville listed below.

From Placerville

Proceed north on winding Hwy 49 for about 9.5 miles (about 20—25 minutes) through the town of Coloma. Just past Coloma and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, cross the bridge over the South Fork of the American. Right after crossing the river, you will see the “River Park” shopping center on the left, with signs for Hotshot Imaging. Please use the center’s second entrance, where a left-turn lane is provided at River Park Dr. Look to the back of the center, where you will see the entrance to our campground.

From Reno, Nevada/North Lake Tahoe:

Take Interstate 80 west to Auburn. Take Hwy 49 south from Auburn for about 17 miles (about 30 minutes), arriving in the Coloma/Lotus area. After passing through Lotus’ 3-way stop sign (intersection with Marshall Grade Rd), continue past the gas station and look for us behind the “River Park” shopping center on the right. Before Hotshot Imaging’s building, turn right onto River Park Dr and look for the entrance to our campground in the back of the retail center.

By Air

Many people enjoy the time saved by flying into Sacramento, which is accessed my most major airlines. A variety of car rental companies are available at the airport.

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American River Fork, Cork & Paddle - 1 Day Trip Planner

Trip Documents

Itineraries

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Local Weather & Current Conditions

Average Temperatures
Month Days Nights
June 85° 57°
July 95° 63°
August 100° 62°
September 85° 59°
Water Temperatures
Seasonal Average: 50° - 60° F



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Company Info

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact info@oars.com or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
©2014
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222