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Home - Rafting

Rafting and Kayaking in and around Lake Tahoe

Raft on Middle American River

When you get as much snow as Lake Tahoe does in the winter you can bet all that water has to go somewhere. And go somewhere it does. There are numerous opportunities for whitewater adventures at all levels. Within the industry the slogan is "from Mild to Wild!". From the serene beauty of Emerald Bay to the gentle flow of the Upper Truckee as it leaves the lake to the class IV rapids of the tunnel chute the Tahoe area has everything even an avid paddler could want. There's no shortage of commercial outfitters prepared to fill your every need as well. It's not difficult at all to rent a kayak just about anywhere near the lake. Many ski rental shops in the winter turn into bike/kayak rental shops in the summer. If you're planning to paddle on the lake you will want a longer thinner kayak than if your planning anything on rough water. There are numerous rivers to run both on the east and west sides of the Sierras. The majority can be accessed from Highway 49 as the rivers pour out of the Sierra from Coloma to Downieville. Here is a quick rundown of the favorites. The links will take you to more information about the run. Looking for paddling gear? Check out our rafting and kayaking gear section.

East Fork Carson - Put in to Hangman's Bridge

II/III

1/2 Day
Part of Overnighter

American River Recreation
WET Rafting Trips
Rubicon Whitewater Adventures

East Fork Carson - Hangman's Bridge to Ruhenstroth Dam

II

1/2 Day
Overnight at Hot Springs

American River Recreation
WET Rafting Trips
Rubicon Whitewater Adventures

South Fork American River - Chili Bar run

III+

1/2 Day
One Day
Part of multi day trip

Whitewater Excitement
American River Recreation
WET Rafting Trips
Beyond Limits
Rubicon Whitewater Adventures
Whitewater Voyages
All Outdoors
EarthTrek Expeditions
Environmental Traveling Companions
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions
Mother Lode River Trips
Tahoe Whitewater Tours
Tributary Whitewater Tours

South Fork American River - Gorge run

III+

One Day
Part of multi day trip

Middle Fork American River - Oxbow Bend to Paradise Canyon

IV+

One Day
Part of multi day trip 

Whitewater Excitement
American River Recreation
WET Rafting Trips
Rubicon Whitewater Adventures
Whitewater Voyages
All Outdoors
EarthTrek Expeditions

Middle Fork American River - Lower

II

One Day

WET Rafting Trips
All Outdoors

North Fork American - Chamberlain Falls

IV+

One Day

Whitewater Excitement
Wet Rafting

North Fork American - Giant Gap

V

One Day

Whitewater Voyages

Truckee River - 64 Acre Park to River Ranchp

I

1/2 Day  

Self Guided

Truckee River - Boca Reservoir to Floriston

III+

 
 

Yuba River

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

All Difficulty Levels are for average flows, which are not always present. You can check flows at Dreamflows.com
Click here additional paddling, rafting, and whitewater resources.

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