North Fork American River - 1 Day Trip
Trip DetailsNF 1 Day
Trip Length: 1 Day
Difficulty: Class 4
Minimum Age: 16 yrs
Government river use fee
plus $8 per person state river access fees.
Includes one night camping, breakfast and lunch.
Trips available Saturdays and Sunday, April to early June.
Meet at the EarthTrek Camp the night before your trip.
The jewel of the Northern Sierra, the North Fork flows free and natural through a deep and narow wilderness granite gorge. Almost five miles of continuous Class IV+ rapids will be run including Slaughter's Sluice, Chamberlain Falls, Bogus Thunder and Staircase. After Staircase the river mellows for the next four miles to mostly Class III rapids to Ponderosa Bridge, our take-out. Because of the free flowing nature of the North Fork, with no upstream dams, it is only runnable in the Spring when the Sierra snows are melting. The North Fork is a demanding and technical run, a favorite of those who have previously run the Soputh or Middle Fork of the American. Wet suits are a must on the North Fork and they will be available for a small rental fee.
8:00 AM: Meet at the EarthTrek Camp, check in. Note: While 8 AM is our normal meeting time it is subject to change. We will contact you at least 48 hours prior to your trip if there are any changes. We suggest you also contact our office at this time to confirm your meeting time.
We board our van(s) for the 1 hour drive to the North Fork put-in at Iowa Hill Bridge near Colfax.
Whitewater excitement begins just minutes after our launch as the river narrows and we encounter Chamberlain Falls.
How to get to the American River
We offer you a selection of ways to get to the American River. The easiest and most popular means of transportation is to drive your own car. Driving directions are detailed below.
Southwest Airlines offers convenient service to Sacramento from many California and Western cities. Rental cars are available at the airport or if you have a group of 10 or more check with EarthTrek about a van or bus shuttle.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS to the American River
Our South Fork, Middle Fork and North Fork American River trips all meet at the EARTHTREK EXPEDITIONS CAMP in Lotus on the South Fork American. Following are driving directions to our camp.
From Southern California (approximately 7 hours driving time): Take I-5 north to Sacramento and follow the directions below from Sacramento.
From San Francisco Bay Area (2- 2 1/2 hours driving time): Take I-80 east to Sacramento and follow the directions below from Sacramento.
From Redding and the Sacramento Airport: Take I-5 south to Hwy 50 east (freeway sign on I-5 directs you to Fresno) and follow the directions below from Sacramento.
From Sacramento (1 hour driving time): Take Hwy 50 east towards Placerville/Lake Tahoe. Drive about 34 miles to Ponderosa Road (Exit 37)and exit the freeway. At the freeway offramp stop light turn left and cross over the freeway. At the second stop light, just past the freeway, turn right on North Shingle Road. Continue about 11.5 miles (the road becomes Lotus Road at mile 5) until the road deadends at Hwy 49. Turn left on Hwy 49 and cross over the American River Bridge (as you cross over the bridge you'll see our camp and grass lawn on the left). Turn left at the SECOND DRIVE into River Park Village and follow the road down to our gravel parking lot which is behind River Park Village.
From South Lake Tahoe: (1 1/2 hours driving time): Take Hwy 50 west over Echo Summit to Placerville. Turn right (north) on Hwy 49 (Spring Street) and drive about 9 miles thru the historic gold discovery site in Coloma and cross over the American River Bridge. Past the bridge turn left at the SECOND DRIVE into River Park Village and follow the road down to our gravel parking lot.
From Reno or North Lake Tahoe (2-2 1/2 hours driving time): Take I-80 west to Auburn and then take Hwy 49 south. You will cross over the North Fork of the American and then climb to the community of Cool. From Cool,6 miles. Continue on Hwy 49 about 10 more miles to River Park Village, which will be on your right (do not cross over the bridge). Turn right at Yossum's Pizza and follow the road down to our gravel parking lot.
When you arrive at our camp please check in at our camp store or follow the directions posted on our bulletin board in camp. Here you will find information about any camping gear you may have rented and where it is located.
If you are arriving late please observe our quiet hours from 10 PM to 7 AM. If you have an RV you are welcome to park in our lot and sleep in your vehicle but there are no hook ups and please no generators during our quiet hours from 10 PM to 7 AM.
WHICH IS THE BEST WHITE WATER RAFTING TRIP?
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO WHITE WATER RAFTING?
HOW ARE RIVERS CLASSIFIED FOR DIFFICULTY?
WHAT TYPE OF WHITE WATER RAFT DO I RIDE IN?
WHO CAN GO WHITE WATER RAFTING?
WHAT ABOUT YOUNG CHILDREN UNDER 7?
WHAT DO I PROVIDE?
ARE GROUP RATES AVAILABLE FOR COMPANY GROUPS, CLUBS OR YOUTH GROUPS?
BUT I STILL HAVE MORE QUESTIONS
What To Bring
On all EarthTrek Expeditions trips all of your gear will remain at our South Fork Camp so you do not have any restrictions on what you can bring. The following list is suggested items. We do not suggest that you bring valuables but if you must we do offer a safe to lock your items during the day or you can lock them in your car and leave your keys in our safe. On the river most people prefer to wear a swimsuit or shorts, tennis shoes without socks and a T-shirt (a T-shirt is good to keep the sun off but a wet cotton T-shirt may give you a chill). You will get wet so dress accordingly.
One Day Trips
If cool or inclement weather is a possibility, we recommend the following items
Our 1 day trips do not include camping or any extra meals, except lunch.
You may add camping either before or after your 1 day raft trip, or both nights. Our camping fee is $10 per person per night. If you add camping please arrive at 6 PM or later on the night before your raft trip. If you arrive prior to 6 PM your camping space or rental tent may not ba available as we need the period prior to 6 PM to clean tents and/or water our lawn.
Please note: We do not allow individuals to cook their own meals so please do not bring camp stoves for food preperation. If available we can add breakfast and/or dinner to your package. There are several restaurants within walking distance of our camp.
Our campground is not equipped for RV's. You are allowed to park your RV in our parking lot and stay in it at night but PLEASE do not run your generator from 10 PM to 7 AM. If you would like to stay at a campground with RV hook-ups check out our links page for a list of campgrounds in our area as well as motels and bed & breakfast inns.
Bring your own tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad or rent what you need from EarthTrek. See below. Camp gear rentals are in addition to our campground fee of $10/person per night.
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