» North Fork American River
Bird’s Eye View
The North Fork of the American is unique among the forks of the American River because it is free-flowing. Without upstream dams regulating the flow of water this river peaks quickly in the spring and then, just as quickly, becomes too low for recreational boating. The canyon’s beauty and the challenges of the river make watching for the North Fork’s fleeting window well worth it.
The North Fork in a Nutshell
Difficulty: Class IV
Gradient: 34 ft/mi
Length: 9.5 miles (can be shorter)
Season: February – May
Put-in: Colfax-Iowa Hill Bridge
Take-out: Shirttail Creek (Yankee Jim’s) or Ponderosa Bridge
Who should go: Rafters with previous experience rafting and strong paddling abilities. Kayakers should have strong skills and plenty of experience.
Whitewater & Scenery
The contrast of the turquoise water, grey granite cliffs, and evergreen trees makes a day on the North Fork feel like you are paddling through a watercolor painting. In the first part of the run, there is not much time to look around though!
Read more about North Fork American Whitewater.
Learn more about North Fork American River Flows.
Keep reading about North Fork American River Logistics.