whitewater kayaker at American River Festival, Chili Bar Hole

The South Fork of the American River is a great all-around stretch for private boaters of all levels. Novices will find the 3-mile, Class II “Coloma to Lotus” stretch to be an ideal introduction to whitewater. Intermediate boaters enjoy the increased challenge of the Class III “Chili Bar” and “Gorge” runs, and the expert kayakers spend hours perfecting their rodeo moves in the world-famous Chili Bar Hole and other play spots.

The most popular and frequently-updated pages on the American River site are the news & rumors, and events. There you’ll find a graph of current river levels, frequent postings of information about projected flows or hazards, and notices of upcoming meetings and other events.

There are several schools offering instruction on the South Fork. Some offer roll sessions and kayak polo in heated pools for comfortable entertainment and practice during spring and winter months. Explore the options to find a program that suits your needs.

Looking for fellow paddlers? Check out our links page for kayaking clubs and links to other paddling-related web sites, or post in the forum to find like-minded paddlers.

The resources pages have lots of logistical information, including maps and directions, shuttle notes, local food and lodging.

Kayak Schools & Instruction

  • Current Adventures
    Current Adventure Kayak School & Trips

    22nd year guiding adventures in California and beyond! Professional, local instructors, small classes of 3:1 ratio. Whitewater and lake outings. Kids & Adults camps. info@CurrentAdventures.com 1-888-4kayaking (888-452-9254)

  • California Canoe & Kayak
    California Canoe & Kayak

    California Canoe & Kayak is celebrating  40+ years! Now, conveniently next to Marco’s Café, we provide whitewater kayaking instruction, free demos, sales and service. We are the Gold Country’s oldest whitewater kayaking school and are a Jackson Kayak Authorized dealer. 800-366-9804

  • DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking - Quality instruction and guided trips-Rogue, Middle Fork Salmon, Grand Canyon, Bhutan, Ecuador since 1995. (866)529-2566

kayaker competing at American River Festival