Whitewater River Rafting Trips

American River

American River North Fork from Iowa Hill Bridge to Ponderosa Bridge

This trip is a class IV run on the American River North Fork from Iowa Hill Bridge to Ponderosa Bridge 9 miles of river. The gradient of the river is 34 feet per mile. The rapids are Slaughter’s Sluice, Chamberlin Falls, Tongue and Groove, ZigZag, Fern Wall, Achilles Heel, Bogus Thunder, Grand Slalom and Staircase. There are several unnamed class III rapids between Chamberlin Falls and Bogus Thunder. Flows on this river vary greatly from 200 CFS in the summer to over 10,000 CFS in the winter and spring months. The river is runnable for a raft at flows over 1,000 CFS. At flows of 1,000 to 4,000 CFS the river is a class IV run, at flows over 4,000 CFS the river turns into a class V run. This river is only run in the winter and spring months during the snow runoff.

This trip is a "helmet" (class IV) run. When you are told to put on your helmets and life vests the helmets and life vests are to stay on and buckled up until you are told it is all right to take them off.

Water temperatures during the fall, winter and spring months fall below 50 degrees F and a wetsuit or dry suit are required. This trip will almost always require a full-length wet suit or dry suit, booties and full-length gloves. There is a combination of public and private lands (mining claims on BLM land). We have to be especially careful of the mining claims. The laws regarding the mining claims on public lands are "fuzzy" and open to interpretation. We must show respect for any private property along the river. We have the right to access the banks of the river up to the high water mark, whether it is public or private property, to portage the rafts and scout the river. We will stop at Yankee Jim’s bridge for and have lunch. At Yankee Jim’s bridge there is Shirttail Creek to explore.

This trip is a class IV run and unlike the class III runs helmets are required. This trip is far more strenuous and longer then the trips on the south fork. This trip is not for the first time rafter. For this trip it is required that you have made at least one class III run before. This trip requires a greater level of teamwork, discipline and cooperation. For this trip it is required that you be in above average health and general physical condition.

Notes / Agenda:

We meet at my house 7:00 a.m. sharp! We put in the raft on the river around 11:00 a.m. and will be taking the raft out at the Ponderosa Bridge around 4:00 p.m. With packing the gear and driving time to fetch the vehicles at the put in arrival time back to Sacramento can be from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Remember to pack your own lunch. So be there sharp 7:00 a.m., no stragglers, if you’re late you hold up the whole crew. If you are going to be late or you cannot make it for any reason call.

From my house we go to Ponderosa Bridge. Ponderosa way is off of highway 80 at the Heather Glenn exit going toward the town of Colfax. We will leave 1 or 2 vehicles at Ponderosa Bridge and go up to Iowa Hill Bridge road. Iowa Hill road is off Canyon Way at the Colfax exit on highway 80. We leave the trucks at Iowa Hill Bridge and take off on the river for Ponderosa Bridge. The trip is 9 miles of river on the North Fork of the American River.