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.

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North Fork American River Whitewater Photo Gallery


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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.

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Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & 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.

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River Flows

River FlowsWhen it flows, it’s a 24-hours a day deal. Rainy weather or snowmelt bring the North Fork up in the winter and spring. It’s a popular after work run in the spring.

Learn more about North Fork American River Flows.

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LogisticsThe only truly “complicated” part of Chamberlain logistics is if you’re planning on doing laps. Giant Gap is a little more complex because it involves a hike to put-in.

Keep reading about North Fork American River Logistics.

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North Fork Video


Watch a North Fork American video before you see it up close.

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Places to Eat, Places to Stay
& Things To Do

Places To EatPlaces To StayThings To Do

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Local Gear Shops

Local Gear ShopsBuy gear and other supplies for your whitewater trip on the “T” in Groveland, Sonora or Online

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