Middle Fork American River Rafting

The Middle Fork American River, flowing through one of the more remote California white water rafting canyons, has some of the best summertime Class III and IV California white water rafting anywhere. The river flows 18 miles through a very deep and isolated canyon that has many challenging Class III and IV California white water rafting rapids. If you love pristine wilderness, more thrills and fewer people then the South Fork American River Trips, then this California white water rafting adventure is for you.

Middle Fork American River Info

  • Section: Oxbow Reservoir to Drivers Flat
  • Season: May through Sept.
  • Length: 18 Miles
  • Location: Near Foresthill, CA
  • Difficulty: Class 3-4
  • Ages: 12 and Up

River Description

The Middle Fork of the American begins at the Base of Oxbow Reservoir outside of Foresthill, CA. The first Class III rapid lies 100 yards below put in, setting the pace strong. About 20 minutes into the run lies the first Class IV, “Tunnel Chute”. This man made rapid is sure to bring excitement to the trip. Many more class II and III continue below until Class IV Kanaka Falls, a challenging steep rapid. After Kanaka Falls, 7 miles of calm and scenic water await boaters as a good way to relax and enjoy the steep canyon. The calm section ends abruptly with Chunder, an 8 foot waterfall. Next up is Ruck-a-chucky Falls, a 25′ waterfall always portaged. Below the portage the excitement continues with several Class IV rapids in quick succession until a short calm area that ends at take out.

Shuttle Directions

Put In- To get to put in from Auburn, get on Highway 80 and take exit 121 towards Foresthill Rd. Take Foresthill rd for 19 miles, then turn right onto Mosquito Ridge rd. Follow this windy road for 12 miles, until you see a sign to turn right towards oxbow, which is FR 23. Take this turn and follow the road down to a cement and gravel area which is the put in.
Take Out- To get to take out, head back up the road to reach Mosquito Ridge Rd. Follow this all the way back to Foresthill Rd. Turn left onto Foresthill Rd. and go 8.8 miles. Then Turn Left onto Drivers Flat Rd, and follow this dirt road all the way to the river. At the bottom you will see signs directing to parking, this will be your take out.


There is a small tent camping area at the Take out, but it is mostly dirt. The closet camping will be either in Foresthill or Auburn.

Real-Time River Flows

This river has a very narrow flow range, the best range being between 900 and 1400 cfs. Normal summer release is 1050 cfs.

Other California Whitewater Rafting Rivers

Merced River South Fork American North Fork American Middle Fork American River

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