Driver’s Flat Trailhead, Foresthill Rd, near Auburn
1 Day from $149View Dates & Prices
The Middle Fork of the American River is a “must do” for all rafting enthusiasts! The Class IV Middle Fork of the American River rushes through a pristine, secluded canyon where a melee of pounding whitewater and the beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills combine to offer an incomparable whitewater rafting adventure in California near Sacramento. In 1889, in search of gold buried beneath the American River, miners blasted a tunnel through the side of a cliff to divert the water, creating one of the most unique whitewater features anywhere. Now known as “Tunnel Chute,” this long, tumultuous rapid, which concludes with 90 feet of this pounding river disappearing underground, is the heart-stopping highlight of this thrill-packed Middle Fork American rafting experience.
Driver’s Flat Trailhead, Foresthill Rd, near Auburn
Oxbow Bend. Put-in (start) for OARS Middle Fork American Whitewater Rafting trips. The trip begins in the eddy just below the Oxbow Powerhouse. This uninhabited, pristine wilderness area was once home to two mining camps and more than 10,000 people.
ALARM CLOCK (aka GOOD MORNING COFFEE) (III) As its name implies, this rapid is the wake-up call for the day to come.
The North Fork of the Middle Fork enters the river on the right.
LITTLE FIN BACK (II)
CARLS CRASH OR GUIDE SLAMMER (III)
SANTA’S MUSTACHE (Also called ORGANIZED CHAOS) (III)
JAKE THE RIPPER (II)
LAST CHANCE (IV) This rapid is an almost vertical drop.
TUNNEL CHUTE (IV+) Crowds of miners came to the Middle Fork American River canyon in search of gold in the late 1800s. They realized that gold probably settled into what was formerly a slow-moving, horseshoe bend in the river. To divert the flow and access the hidden gold, they blasted a tunnel and dug a chute to guide the water through the tunnel. This alteration to the river created one of the biggest gold discoveries in the California foothills. Technically, the rapid should be called Chute Tunnel, as you will descend through a narrow 80-foot long chute which concludes with a big drop into frothy, churning water. You will then pass through a 90-foot long underground tunnel. This will certainly be a memorable California whitewater experience!
There are numerous Class III rapids until the Class IV Kanaka Falls rapid.
Volcano Canyon, river right. Josephine Canyon, river left. There was once a great deal of mining activity in this area.
KANAKA FALLS (IV) This rapid is also known as CARTWHEEL. The river rushes to the right over boulders. The current will sweep the boat toward a rock wall on the right.
A nine-mile stretch of Class I-II rapids provides opportunity for swimming and enjoying the Sierra Foothill scenery.
Dardanelles Creek. Hidden pools and waterfalls can be found up this creek.
Doodlebug Dredge. Historical gold-mining landmark.
Ford’s Bar, Otter Creek, river left. There is a side hike one mile up Otter Creek. There is a swimming hole and plenty of ripe blackberries from mid-July to August.
Canyon Creek, river left.
UPPER RUCK-A-CHUCKY (IV) Also called CHUNDER. Originally named by the gold miners in the 1800s, this rapid provides a fun six-foot drop.
RUCK-A-CHUCKY (V+) OARS does not take passengers down this Middle Fork American rapid. Our guests walk around as guides maneuver the boats downstream to a safe location.
LOWER RUCK-A-CHUCKY (IV)
PARALLEL PARKING (IV)
Numerous Class III rapids.
Greenwood Bridge. Take out/end of your California whitewater experience. A set of wide stone steps leads up to a parking lot. Beverages and a return shuttle to your vehicle wait at the take-out of your OARS Middle Fork American rafting trip.
Additional Costs: $8 per person per day federal, state and local access fees
20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More! (call for details)
Camp with us! Click here to learn more about complimentary camping for rafters before or after your trip! In addition to secluded woodland campsites, we also offer comfortable pre-set platform tents with twin beds, lofty comforters, sheets & pillows from $85 per night. Additional amenities include men’s and women’s bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, camp store, games and free WiFi.
Please note that camping reservations must be made in advance of arrival and guests may check-in between 3:30 and 8:00 PM.
May-September 8:00AM to 5:00PM Includes lunch!
“I have traveled with OARS for many years and have always been impressed with how well trained the guides are and how safety conscious the whole crew is. They have fun, but they are responsible when they need to be.”
-Li Chang ~Sacramento, CA
“Six friends and I went on the Middle Fork American River day trip, our prior experience varied from intermediate to one previous trip on the South Fork American. We all agree that our guides were beyond spectacular! We had a blast.”
“I found OARS online while researching a potential future Grand Canyon trip, and am extremely impressed by the company in comparison to others I have been with, as well as seen on the rivers, not only on the day of the trip, but starting from the informative web site and the pleasant and helpful reservation person who helped me organize the trip.”
“Your guides are on the front line with your customers and a reflection of your company, these two should definitely be valued as major assets!”
-Victoria Winters ~Dublin, CA