The Middle Fork of the American River: An Hour by Hour Description

An Hour-by-Hour Guide to Whitewater Rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River.

 The Middle Fork of the American River, located in the heart of California, offers one of the best class 4 whitewater rafting experiences in California.  This thrilling journey down the river is perfect for first timers and adventure seekers alike. To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a detailed hour-by-hour guide to give you a taste of what to expect on this incredible adventure.

7:45 AM – Pre-Departure Preparations

The day begins as you arrive at our meeting area right outside of Auburn, CA. Here, you’ll meet our guides and fellow rafters. Next, we’ll embark on a scenic 1 hour drive to the start of the trip.  After a brief safety orientation, you’ll receive your equipment, including helmets, life jackets, and paddles. Make sure to dress appropriately in comfortable clothing, and don’t forget sunscreen and water shoes for a comfortable experience.

9:00 AM – Launch and Scenic Views

With your rafting gear in tow, it’s time to hit the water! The river begins with a super fun “Good Morning” rapid.  If you are not awake before this rapid, you surely will be after.  With more warm up rapids ahead we are getting ready for the famous Tunnel Chute rapid.

9:45 AM – Class IV Rapids Challenge

As we approach Tunnel Chute,  you’ll notice the river narrowing down and dropping over “Last Chance” rapid before entering the Chute where the river narrows again to 12’ and drops over 80’ in 100’. Our skilled guides will provide instructions on how to navigate this Class IV rapid. Brace yourself for an exciting ride and maybe an inadvertent swim. After the Tunnel Chute we hit more class 3-4 rapids before we drop into Class 4 Kanaka Falls, where the river drops out of sight and plunges down one of the  steepest section on the Middle Fork.

12:00 PM – Riverside Lunch

After conquering the morning’s rapids, it’s time to recharge. Our guides will set up a delightful riverside lunch complete with fresh, local ingredients. Enjoy a delicious meal while sharing stories of your adventures with fellow rafters. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking scenery around you, this is one of the most beautiful canyons in all of California.

1:00 PM – Continued Adventure

After lunch and with renewed energy, we’’ll continue our journey downstream. As the day progresses, we’’ll float through milder rapids, and soak up the sun and scenery.    

2:00 PM – The Class 4 Ruck-a-Chucky Section

At we end the calmer section of the Middle Fork, the solitude is interrupted by the roar of “Chunder” rapid and the Class 6 unraftable 25’ “Ruck-a-Chucky Falls”, where you will need to depart the rafts and hike around this impressive rapids while your guide take it through by themselves.

2:30 PM – The Lower Canyon

After getting back in the rafts, we’ll hit non stop rapids like “Cleavage”, “Parallel Parking”, “101st Airborne”, “Guillotine”, and the exciting “Bambi Falls” where you can choose to float through on your own.

 3:00 PM – Final Stretch and Celebrations

Our adventure draws to a close as we approach the take-out point. Celebrate your successful trip with high-fives and a sense of accomplishment. Our guides will help you disembark from the rafts, and you’ll help carry the rafts a short distance to our waiting vans and ice chest full of cold drinks and snacks for the 15 min ride out of the canyon and back to you cars.

3:30 PM – Farewell and Memories

After an unforgettable day on the Middle Fork of the American River, it’s time for our guides to say goodbye and share some information on where you can check out the photos from some of the rapids you encountered today.. You’ll leave with incredible memories and stories to share for years to come.  

Whitewater rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River is an incredible adventure that combines the thrill of Class IV rapids with the serenity of nature’s beauty. This hour-by-hour guide offers a glimpse into the excitement and wonder of this experience. Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or an adventurous  first-timer, the Middle Fork of the American River has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Plan your own epic whitewater rafting journey on the Middle Fork of the American River by calling our office at 1-800-750-2396 or checking our our website at

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