- North Fork American River
North Fork of the American
The North Fork is a fantastic whitewater adventure, especially for
those looking for something more wild than mild. The river is unblocked
by any dams above and we hope to keep it that way. This means the river
only runs in the winter or spring during snowmelt or runoff. The river
is broken into four main rafting sections.
Generation Gap - This is a 12
mile Class V stretch above Giant Gap that is pretty much for experts
only, and involves quite a bit of planning. It involves a three mile
hike in and usually at least one night camping, unless you want to hike
out up two miles from the Euchre Bar. It does involve some fantastic
rapids, most notably, Dream Gap. With camping, you can run the entire
forty mile stretch to Ponderosa Way bridge for quite a trip. If you do
it midweek, you may see noone the entire length of the trip besides an
occasional miner. Here is a story
so you know what it takes.
Giant Gap - This is a
beautiful run with three Class V rapids (Nutcracker, Locomotive, and
Dominator) and many Class IV's. The run is 14.5 miles and the car
shuttle is only thirty minutes. What's the catch, you say. The catch is
the two mile hike to the put in at Euchre Bar.
From I-80 get off at Alta exit and follow the signs towards Casa Loma.
Turn right at sign for Eucre Bar Trailhead. After about 2 miles the
road will fork. Take the left fork to the trail head parking. It's est
to get an early start due to the hike in (you want it to be cool) and
the length of the run.
Chamberlain Falls & Big Bend -
Chamberlain Falls provides many class IV rapids and is generally gets
more use than any of the runs on the North Fork. It is also run by more
commercial outfitters than Giant Gap. The run from the Iowa
Hill Bridge to the Ponderosa
Way Bridge is about five hours, including lunch and scouting.
The Chamberlain Falls run ends and the Big Bend run starts at the Yankee
Jims Road bridge near Shirttail Creek at mile 5. But that
involves a lot of work getting the boat up to the road compared the the
takeout at the nice beach
at the end of Big Bend. At good flows, there are some decent
class III's on the run anyway and it's pretty quick. The bridge at the
bottom is big fun too.
If you're looking for a commercial rafting trip on the North Fork
American, I suggest Whitewater Excitement for an
experience you won't forget.
This is not the trip for a first time rafter unless you are an
excellent swimmer and in good physical condition. Age restrictions will