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The 7 Most Popular Places for White Water Rafting in California

White Water Rafting California

If you are searching for the best place for white water rafting in California, then you are in the right place. Here we have listed the seven most unusual and exciting rivers that offer the best rafting experience. Make sure that you have the expertise to deal with the rafts, as you will face ample challenges.

1. Cal Salmon River

If you are looking for the most adventurous and exciting voyage in Northern California, visit the Cal Salmon River. The immense beauty of nature surrounds this river. The nearest town you can find is Eureka, which is a 4-hour drive from both San Francisco and Sacramento.

This time is nothing compared to the range of challenges and dangers you will have to face. Of course, that’s what everyone wants from their white water rafting experience. You will observe rapids that range from Class 4 to 5. Not to mention, some runs fall into the expert class. This means you need to have ample experience before facing the rapids like Last Chance and Freight Train.

2. North Fork of American River

The nearest town to this river is Auburn, CA. If you want to feel the joy of white water rafting in California during spring, this is the best place. The North Fork American River is situated between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. Besides offering you a perfect quest for water rafting, it also offers the beauty of Sierra Nevada.

This river has 2,000-foot cliffs and provides you rapid of Class 5, which is followed by Class 2 and 3 rapids. From this, you can predict how many jolts and jumps you will face. Moreover, this river, stretched 10-miles, provides you intense paddling time. Once you have your first experience, it’s hard to resist trying it once more.

3. Middle Fork of the American River

Like the northern fork of the American River, you will have a great time here. Your trip starts by driving 1-hour from Sacramento or 2.5 hours from the San Jose area. Additionally, this part of the river is spread to 18 miles and has rapids of Class 3 and 4. The best part is you will get a lot more versatility in this river, as some of the rapids will also have churning and steep drops. Plus, you will also be able to notice the beautiful canyon scenery.

Some of the most memorable rapids you will have include Tunnel Chute, Kanaka Falls, and Ruck-a-Chucky Falls. Your tips will be around from 1 to 3 days, and the water sports lovers coming to explore this place must have physical strength.

4. South Fork of the American River

This is the southeast part of the American River. Coloma, CA, is the nearest town you can find. The trip length of the South Fork is around 1 to 2 days. You will be surprised to know that this part is the most favorite among water sports enthusiasts. This is because it’s the best place for a family outing, spending a summer day with friends, and a team practice for an event. The reason for the popularity of this place is Class 3 rapids. As it has 21 miles of whitewater, you will get plenty of options. You can raft on the upper Chili Bar stretch, which gives you different rapids. On the other hand, you will have a lower Gorger run from where you can get Class 2 rapids. You will face the bit challenging and rowdy rapids of Hospital Bar and Satan’s Cesspool when you move further.

5. Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River is another excellent white water rafting in California, located near the town of Groveland, CA. This place offers you some scenic views that will leave you in awe. It’s hard not to acknowledge the natural ambiance and environment of this place. Although it is popular, it is not the biggest and challenging whitewater in the state.

You can expect some challenging and technical rapids, including narrow shuts, boulder gardens, and bog drops. One of this river’s popular rapid is Clavey Falls, where your raft will fall from the vertical eight feet. While you can pack up your things to get back home in a day, it’s best to spend an additional day exploring the wonders of the Tuolumne River, such as secret swimming holes and waterfalls.

6. Merced River

Merced River is also known as the “Gateway to Yosemite” because water comes from the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains. As of its popular endearment, this rive is near to the Yosemite National Park. While the river starts from the heart of the national park, there is no whitewater rafting point in it. Only the outer side of the park offers you a rafting environment.

Furthermore, the Merced River is almost 3.5 hours drive away from San Francisco and 6 hours drive away from Southern California. You can explore ample rapids on this 16-mile run, which starts from Class 4. The rapids include Corner Pocket, Ned’s Gulch, Split Rock, and others.

7. Lower Kern River

This is another white water rafting in California and the most accessible rafting river for Southern California folks. The Lower Kern River is situated on the northeast side of the Bakersfield, which is on the southern part of the Sequoia National Forest. Additionally, this river offers you Class 2 and 4 rapids in the early spring.

Besides being one of the best places for rafting, it also offers you a glimpse of wildlife and wild trees and flowers.

Wrap up

So, these are the best options for you to spend your holidays, spring, or summers while enjoying white water rafting in California. It’s important to remember that whitewater rafting is a tricky and dangerous activity. This is why whoever wants to experience this adventure needs to think twice before making the decision.

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