White Water Rafting with Kids
If you want to go white water rafting this summer in Northern California, there is a river to fit every budget and skill level. Here are five of the most popular spots to get you floating down the beautiful waters Northern California has to offer.
Lead photo by Bigstock/Zulkiffle Mohd Kassim
Truckee River (Level Easy)
Photo Courtesy of BigStock/Jason Montiel
Yosemite Valley Merced River (Level Easy)
Photo Courtesy of BigStock/Pixelcarpenter
South Fork American River (Class II and III Rapids)
Photo Courtesy of BigStock/Neil Lockhart
The South Fork American River is a great trip for beginners! A full day guided tour will teach rafters the basics about rafting. The tour includes a good lunch and provides a return shuttle to your car. Prices vary between $109 – $199 with weekends being a little more pricey. Many of the trips begin in Coloma, off of Hwy 49 a few miles north of Placerville. There are several rafting companies near Coloma to choose from that offer trips on the South Fork, the Middle Fork, and the North Fork River.
The O.A.R.S. American River Outpost provides a 2-day South Fork American River rafting experience that starts in Lotus, CA (about an hour away from Sacramento) Tours begin at $279 for adults and $259 for youth (minimum age is 7, or 12 at high water) on Monday and Thursday and $319 for Saturdays. Explore 21-miles through the Gold Country and take in the majestic Sierra Nevada Foothills during this 2-day jam-packed experience.
Middle Fork American River (Class III and IV)
Day trips on the Middle Fork are full of excitement and often capsized rafts. This is an exciting trip for those who are looking for more whitewater and excitement than the South Fork provides. Because there is a higher chance of falling overboard on this river, all rafters are required to wear helmets. Prices include lunch, gear, and transportion from a meeting point (usually Quincy). Find places to raft the Middle Fork at Whitewater Excitement.
North Fork American River (Class IV and V)
Photo Courtesy of BigStock/Ifistand
This is rafting at it’s most extreme. Only experienced rafters are allowed to join trips on the North Fork. Because the river flow is based on snow melt and not controlled by dams, the rafting season begins early in the spring and ends early in summer. The Coloma area rafting companies can provide information on when the season will end and costs.
Read more about white water rafting with kids on the American River.
by Dan Kelly