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South Fork American River: Gorge Run

Quick Details

Adult Ages 13+
Child Ages 7-12

Enjoy A Two-Part Adventure Rafting on the South Fork American River in CA!

River: South Fork of the American River
Section: Gorge Run
Duration: Half-Day Experience
River Miles: 12 River Miles
Whitewater Class: Class II-III+ (Adventurous Beginner/ Intermediate)
Raft Sizes: 13’, 14’ & 16’ rafts are used: On the South Fork of the American River, our rafts can take up to 6-8 guests, plus a guide.
Guided Tours: Professional river guide in each raft providing instructions throughout the journey


  • Best beginner rafting from North Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Central California, and the Bay Area
  • A leisurely start with a slow build-up of Class II rapids, with an exciting finish
  • Perfect introductory and first-time river trip
  • Large waves, splashes, and plenty of swimming opportunities
  • Fun for the whole family
  • Centrally located in California (2 hours from the Bay Area)

Where We Meet:

  • Pilot Hill, California: 4531 Salmon Falls Rd, Pilot Hill Ca, 95664
  • Vehicles left at our office for the day; load into our marked van for a short 10-minute drive to the river. Amenities Include parking, restrooms, changing rooms

Approximately 1 hour from Sacramento. 2 hours from the Bay Area, 1.5 hrs from North Lake Tahoe

What To Expect:

After Making a Reservation:

  • Confirmation email including trip details, online waivers, driving directions
  • Prepare for the trip by visiting our FAQ Page
Day of the Tour: Arriving at Meeting Location:
  • Check-in at Pilot Hill Office at set meeting time: Check confirmation email
  • Board a rafting bus for a short 10-minute drive to the river
  • Gear up with PFD, paddle, helmet, wetsuit/splash jacket if needed
  • Quick orientation on river safety and paddling instructions
  • Launch into the South Fork of the American River for an exhilarating rafting experience
What to Expect on the South Fork American River Gorge Run:
  • Beginner/Intermediate whitewater rafting suitable for all adventure levels
  • 12 miles of whitewater excitement
  • Historical significance with the river playing a key role in the 1848 California Gold Rush
  • Scenic river rafting journey through the Coloma-Lotus Valley with Class II rapids and mellow swimming holes to swim in.
  • Fun Filled Class II and III rapids enter the lower exciting Gorge with escalating rapids such as “Foulers Rock”, “Satans Cesspool”, and “Hospital Bar”
  • Extraordinary adventure for all with beautiful foothill scenery and rich historical context
  • Jet ski tow-out at Folsom Reservoir
  • Runs every day, typically from May to mid-September (dependent on river flow)
  • All availability can be seen online; call for reservations

Why Choose Tahoe Whitewater Tours?

  • Experienced river guides prioritizing safety and guest services
  • Over 30 years of history on rivers, showcasing the beauty of the South Fork of the American River

South Fork of the American River Gorge Run

Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime on our beginner-friendly guided whitewater river rafting adventure on the popular South Fork of the American River. A trip perfect for those seeking a day filled with thrills and excitement! Traverse the historic South Fork of the American River as it winds through the picturesque Coloma-Lotus Valley, setting the stage for one of the most sought-after whitewater stretches in the United States. Brace yourself for 12 miles of pure river fun, beginning with a leisurely first hour that provides the perfect backdrop to learn the essentials of whitewater rafting. Dive into large tranquil pools offering ample swimming opportunities. As the afternoon unfolds, the river gains speed upon entering the lower gorge, hosting the most thrilling rapids of the journey. Become part of a professional rafting team, expertly guided by our experienced crew, as walls of water surround you, echoing with laughter and cries of joy. The grand finale awaits at Folsom Reservoir, where an exhilarating tow-out from a jet ski adds the perfect ending to this epic day. Ideal for first-time river runners, the Gorge Run promises a mellow start, beginner/intermediate rapids, and thrilling waves toward the end – a recipe for creating unforgettable memories on the South Fork American River!
Located centrally in California, it’s the best and easiest whitewater rafting adventure to locate, perfect for a day trip from San Francisco or any major city in the state. Book your guided whitewater river tour now!