North Fork American River: Chamberlain Falls

  • Duration

    Full Day (4.5 Hours on River)
  • Difficulty

    Intermediate - Advanced
  • Class

  • Price

  • Ages

  • Available

    Monday - Friday 9:00 Am
  • Length

    13 River Miles


  • Best Class IV rafting in Northern CA: big drops, fast current, memorable rapids and scenery
  • Previous experience recommended but not necessary: everyone paddles and gets wet
  • Steep jungle gorge and crystal clear water
  • Delicious lunch included
  • River Guides’ Favorite
0 Minutes
From Sacramento
0 Hour
From North Lake Tahoe
0 Hours
From the Bay Area

About the Trip Full Day Class 4 Excitement

Easily accessed from North Lake Tahoe, Auburn, Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay Area, rafting the North Fork of the American River is one for the books. This naturally free flowing river is only available in during snow melt run off. The North Fork carves through a granite canyon with tall jungle like foliage.

Whitewater action begins immediately with an exhilarating half mile of continuous Class III+ rapids. Next is the Class IV drop “Chamberlain Falls.” Back to back thrilling class IV rapids, crystal clear water, and colorful scenery make this a guide and guest favorite. Sign up now as the North Fork of the American river is by far one of the most beautiful river canyons containing some of the best whitewater in California. Tahoe Whitewater river guides are committed to showing our guests the wildest ride available on the North Fork of the American River so be ready to get wet! Our Class IV Trips require a team effort; guests will be expected to exert high physical energy. If you are afraid to get wet, this is not the adventure for you.

After booking, check your confirmation email which has comprehensive trip information.

  • We will see you at 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603 at 9:00am
  • Park, check in, fill out any outstanding waivers, use the restroom, etc. Leave valuables at home and and personal items in your vehicles. Car keys can be left with our office staff or in your seat on our shuttle bus while you’re on the river.
  • Hop on our Tahoe Whitewater Shuttle Bus for a 45 minute drive to the river.
  • Gear Up & Safety Talk! You’ll be issued a Personal Flotation Device, Paddle, Helmet, Fleece, and Splash Jackets. Everyone will participate in our Safety Talk to discuss river hazards and safety protocols.
  • Meet your guide! Your guide will chat about paddling and give instructions as you hop in your raft and start the tour.
  • Enjoy the river! You'll be on the river for about 4.5 hours. We provide a gourmet, riverside lunch in the epic North Fork gorge.
  • We'll shuttle you back to the meeting / parking location.

Ages 13+ and previous rafting experience is recommended but not necessary. This Class IV section requires a team effort - everyone will be exerting effort and paddling. If you're not comfortable with exhilarating rapids, or getting wet in big drops and waves, this is not the trip for you.

» Trip Selector

Do I need to know how to swim?

It is recommended but not mandatory. We provide a helmet and a Type V, US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device, designed to float you on your back, high in the water.

What do I need to wear?

We have packing lists for you to review for each of our different trips. It can be significantly colder during March-May so we encourage our guests to always be prepared.

It’s my first time rafting, do I need experience?

We encourage previous experience for our more difficult, Class IV Whitewater Rafting Trips. Feel free to call us with any concerns or questions about appropriate trips for your group.

» Read all Rafting FAQ

» Plan Your Trip

» Trip Forms

Monday - Friday @ 9:00 AM

Some Weekend Dates

April 20 - September, flow depending

  • Helmet, Paddle, Personal Flotation Device (aka PFD or lifejacket)
  • Professional River Guide in each raft
  • Gourmet, riverside lunch
  • Shuttle to and from our meeting/parking location

Our guides are the best in the business, prioritizing safety and guest experience. They love what they do and it shows through their passion for the area's history, geology and ecology. With experience on rivers around the globe, we know you'll enjoy your guide as much as we do.

Tahoe Whitewater's owner, Mike Miltner, pioneered commercial whitewater rafting on the Truckee River in the 1980's and 90's when government ordinances prohibited whitewater rafting on the Truckee. Mike fell in love with the Truckee River and began battling local, state, and federal opposition. Successful in his mission to share the Truckee, Mike paved the way for people to experience the beauty and adventure the Truckee River has to offer. And over 30 years now, Tahoe Whitewater has been sharing our love, experience, and knowledge of the area with guests.

On the North Fork of the American River our rafts can take up to 6 guests + a guide.

We use 13' and 14' rafts.


We meet at a public parking lot directly behind Raley's Supermarket in Auburn, CA. 

You’ll leave your vehicles for the day and hop into our Tahoe Whitewater shuttle bus with Yellow River Rafts on the roof. This location has public restrooms to use prior to a short drive down to the river. We’ve never had an issue in the parking lots, but we recommend leaving valuables at home. You may leave small personal items in your seat in our shuttle bus for the duration of your rafting tour. After booking, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a “Trip Details” PDF attachment with all important info, packing lists, etc.

Meet at 9:00 AM at 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603 (drive behind Raley's and park by our TW Shuttle Bus)

Mile 0.0 Colfax-Iowa Hill Bridge Put-In
Mile 0.2 Beginner's Luck Class III
Mile 0.4 Flake Rock
Mile 0.4 - 0.8 Slaughter's Sluice (Class IV)
Mile 0.8 Chamberlain Falls (Class IV+)
Mile 1.1 Tongue and Groove (Class IV)
Mile 1.9 Zig-Zag (Class IV)
Mile 2.0 Fern Hill
Mile 2.2 Achilles Heel (Class IV)
Mile 2.5 Bogus Thunder or Snowball (Class IV)
Mile 2.6 Grand Slalom (Class III)
Mile 3.1 Staircase (Class IV)
Mile 3.3 Nose Stand Class III
Mile 3.5 Indian Creek (on left)
Mile 4.8 Yankee Jim's Bridge/ Shirttail Canyon (on left)
Mile 5.4 Bunch Canyon (side hike)
Mile 7.0 Sore Finger Point
Mile 9.3 Ponderosa Way Bridge Take-Out

What to Expect From Booking to Rafting the North Fork American

After Making a Reservation

After your booking is complete, a confirmation email will be sent including a summary of your group size, date, river section, meeting time and location.

Online Waivers will be provided in your confirmation email. ALL participants must fill out waivers prior to the trip. Please fill these out before arriving.

A “Trip Details” PDF will be attached to your confirmation email containing:

  • driving directions
  • pack list
  • itinerary
  • other helpful info

On the River

The North Fork of the American River drops steeply out of the High Sierra Nevada Mountains and is a classic California river trip. Flowing through a luscious canyon, house sized granite boulders, narrow chutes, and steep rapids. Be ready for an extraordinary experience!

Class IV rapids begin immediately. Our favorite rapids are “Slaughters Sluice,” “Chamberlain Falls,” “Zig Zag,” and the world renowned “Staircase.” Rapids are continuous and challenge the best of whitewater boaters. Be ready to paddle while your guides navigate the turbulent waters, culminating at the most challenging rapid of the day, Class IV+ “Bogus Thunder.” After Bogus, you’ll break for a gourmet river side lunch, giving you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the beauty of this naturally flowing river.

The North Fork American River is uninhibited by upstream dams, creating a wild experience. This run is only available during spring snowmelt and high water seasons (2023!!!), so book your trip sooner than later. Come join us on an adrenaline filled day you won’t find anywhere else.

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