Each year, more than 100,000 people ride the most popular whitewater channel in California, the South Fork of the American River. The rapids are abundant but less turbulent than the North and Middle forks, which offer bigger challenges to more experienced rafter. With names like Bogus Thunder, Triple Threat, Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Old Scary Rapid, and Murderer's Gorge, it's wise to respect the river at all times, come prepared, and have a blast!
South Fork American River (Class III) - The 21-mile river run from Chili Bar can be made in a full day or a more relaxing two day trip. Picnicking is availble at the Dave Moore Nature Area, which is accessible by automobile from Highway 49 or by boat on the river. Take U.S. 50 to Placerville, then follow Hwy. 49 north to Hwy. 193 to the Chili Bar Reservoir. See also American River.
Cosumnes River (Class I)- The last undammed river in the western Sierra offers spots to cool off. Swimming sites are off Mt. Aukum and Bucks Bar Roads, east of Highway 49 and southeast of Placerville. The Cosumnes River Preserve and Visitor Center (near Galt) keeps alive the largest remaining valley oak riparian forest in California, and they offer kayaking tours.