Family Float

Lower Middle Fork American River


Upper South Fork: Chili Bar

Lower South Fork: The Gorge

Full South Fork: Chili Bar + The Gorge

Multi-Day South Fork Rafting Trip


Middle Fork: Tunnel Chute

North Fork American River

Our Team

The Confluence Blog

The Local Area Guide

Rafting FAQ’s

Get Directions

Contact Us

Order Photos

Sierra Whitewater Rafting

Rafting FAQ’s

What Is Your Cancellation and Refund Policy?
48 hours advanced notice is required for the opportunity to reschedule your trip in the same calendar year with the applicable services fees. Guests may be substituted for another person with no penalty. For a full monetary refund, less the deposit, cancellations must be made 30 days or more prior to trip date in writing. Taxes and river access fees are non-refundable. There is a $25.00 service charge per ticket for any rescheduling within 30 days of the trip date. If reservations are cancelled the morning of the trip, the full amount will charged to card on file. This action negates previous discounts.
What Should I Wear?

We recommend wearing clothes that you would be comfortable swimming in. This can be your bathing suit, swim trunks, or a pair of light shorts and a nylon shirt. Make sure to wear shoes that connect to your feet, such as Teva-style sandals, an old pair of tennis shoes, or water shoes.

Shorts: Swimming shorts or synthetic fabrics work best.
Shirt: Quick dry, synthetic fabrics work best.
Shoes: Must be wearing shoes connected to feet. No flip flops or bare feet.
Sun protection:  Hat, sunscreen, old sunglasses (strap recommended)

What Should I Bring?
  • Waterproof Sunscreen & Lip Protection
  • A Reusable Water Bottle, One Per Person
  • Appropriate Swimming Attire
  • Shoes That Attach To Your Feet Such As Teva Sandals Or Old Tennis Shoes

NOTE: We are able to look after your car keys while you are on your trip but have no room to store other items. Please keep this in mind and leave valuables at home.

Will I Fall In?
We will teach you proper techniques and tips to make sure that you only go swimming if you want to. Of course, accidents happen and occasionally people do fall into the river. Not to worry, we will get you back into the boat quickly and discuss how to help one another get back into the boat should this occur during our safety talk.
What About Tipping Our Guide?
Our guides love what they do they do and work especially hard to see that your trip is memorable! If you feel that your guide provided a great experience, it is customary to show your appreciation with a tip. Tips generally range from 15-20% of your total retail trip cost. Gratuities are immensely appreciated.
Is There Free Parking At River's Bend?
The campground we are based out of has ample free parking. We do recommend carpooling with your party whenever possible to be environmentally conscious.
What If There Is A Fire?

Due to the nature of fire season in California, there may be times of the season when smoke is present. For those who are sensitive groups, we recommend monitoring the air quality prior to your trip and letting us know of any concerns you may have. Air quality monitoring is solely the responsibility of the client. Trip cancellations within 30 days of the trip date are not eligible for monetary refunds, including those that are the result of a natural disaster or environmental concerns. If you or any member of your group are concerned about smoke or fire, phone our office to inquire about making a plan to reschedule. If there is a required cancellation due to fire hazards, the Sierra Whitewater Team will phone you to reschedule.

Will I Be In The Boat With My Group?
We will happily pair you with whomever you wish during the booking process. Boats are limited to up to 8 guest spots, with smaller boats for smaller parties. Larger parties will travel in a pod, with the boats traveling as a group. If you have specific requests please let us know during the time of booking, we will do our best to accommodate them.
What About Photos?
There are whitewater rafting photography companies who photograph our boats at all of the major rapids. After your trip, we will share with you how to view and purchase them.
How Many People Can Fit On A Boat?
The average group size on a raft is 7 people, but it can vary depending on the groups, conditions and rafts used. If you have a group that wants to go together then just let us know and we will try and accommodate you. We do have larger boats available on request, or are more than happy to pair smaller groups or single individuals.
What Should I Do If I’m Running Late?
Our meeting time is crucial! We do our best to be as fast as possible when checking our guests in, so if you anticipate being late please call as early as possible to let us know. As a courtesy to our guests who arrive on time, as well as water release schedules, we will wait no longer than 30 minutes for you (i.e. If you meet at 12:00pm, then we will wait until 12:30pm). If we do not hear from you and our messages are not returned, we will consider your reservation as a no show. No show trips will be not be refunded or rescheduled. We understand that traffic and other issues may arise, so please do not delay communicating with us. If at all possible, we will do our best to reschedule you at a later time. However, everything is subject to availability and there are no guarantees.
Are There Any Lunch Options?
We have a Chef on staff for our trips that include meals and are happy to add on meals to your trip. We will do our best to accommodate any dietary specifications and allergies, though these must be communicated at time of booking. For trips that do not include meals, there are a number of fabulous local restaurants that we would love to recommend, ask your Guide or give us a call!
Do You Cater To Special Dietary Requirements?
We are happy to accommodate your specific dietary needs, as long as we are able to safely do so. Let us know at time of booking if you are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free. We are also highly conscious of food allergies and will do our best to accommodate, please discuss with a booking agent for more information.
Are Wetsuits Available Or Included?
Wetsuits are recommended in the months of April, May, September and October, depending on weather. Wetsuit rentals are $10 per person. If you do have a personal wetsuit please feel free to let your booking agent know and bring it along, otherwise please alert us prior to your arrival as to each of your party’s height and weight so that we can have the suits prepared for your trip. Wet suits are not regularly packed for trips, so if you are interested it is very important you speak with a booking agent prior to your arrival.
Can I Bring My Camera?
We don’t recommend bringing anything on your trip that you are not willing to part with. Photos are taken at major rapids on all South Fork Trips and the Middle Fork Tunnel Chute, and Sierra Whitewater often has coupons for the photo companies upon request. If you would still prefer to bring your own camera, it must be of the waterproof type and Sierra Whitewater is not responsible for any lost or damaged items.
What Kind of Rapids Will We Encounter?

Each of our trips is full of scenic nature, views, and whitewater. Our trips all offer plenty of smaller rapids throughout. Each of the rapids is categorized based upon Classes. Your trip will have varying Classes depending on which trip you select. The breakdown is as follows:
Class II Rapids: Novice
Class III Rapids: Intermediate
Class IV Rapids: Advanced
Class V Rapids: Expert

What Are The Physical Requirements?

If you are of a reasonable fitness level then you should have no problems. We take people of many varying physical abilities and sizes. Please be aware that the trip involves some physical exertion and potential exposure to the elements, including cold water and weather, heat, sun, wind and rain.

For the beginner and intermediate rafting trip, swimming is not a requirement but please let us know in advance if you cannot swim.

Being a competent swimmer is a requirement for the advanced rafting trips unless prior arrangements with a booking agent has been made.

If you or someone in your party is in need of any additional accommodations, please let us know during the time of booking and we will happily provide guidance as to our ability to accommodate your specific needs.

Can I Go If I'm Pregnant?
Please consult with your care provider to see if whitewater rafting is a safe option for you.
Do I Need To Sign A Release Form?

Yes, a release form is required for everyone in the party and those that are under the age of 18 require their liability form to be signed by a parent or guardian. If you need a liability form in advance, you can find it here. Forms should be filled out with your trip date and completed prior to your arrival.

Liability Waiver

Can I Bring My Pet With Me?

Unfortunately, no. Pets are not allowed at our camp, or on any of our rafting trips. If you are staying locally and are in need of a pet-sitter or boarding facility, we recommend checking out El Dorado Pet Club

Do I Need To Bring Any Extra Money?

We supply everything you need for your trip. Though, you may wish to bring cash for  gratuities.

Can You Help Me With Local Camping or Lodging?

We highly suggest joining us at our beautiful river front camp for your stay. Check out our Camping Page for more details. If you are interested in local lodging accommodations, just contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a list of locally owned businesses that we highly recommend!

What Will The Weather Be Like?

Summers are generally hot and dry, perfect for a day on the water! You can also check out the daily forecast here

Can We Roughhouse On The Boat?

We ask that you treat your guide and crew mates respectfully. Our staff works diligently to give you a fun, safe, exciting experience and they cannot do so if their safety or the crew’s is put into jeopardy. If you have rafted with us before and have a guide you loved, please feel free to request them at the time of your booking and we will try to accommodate your request.

What Are Your COVID Precautions?

Sierra Whitewater Rafting and Our Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: What To Expect

While 2020 was a very challenging year for all, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Whitewater Rafting is deeply humbled and grateful for all of our patrons who joined us on the river this last year. Due to each of our care, caution, and preventative measures, we were able to have a fun and rewarding season for not only our guests, but our staff, becoming even more like the family that we are! We look forward to our 2021 season and are excited to host even more of our beloved patrons as we share in the beauty and thrills of whitewater rafting on the American River. While we at Sierra Whitewater have always



For individuals deemed high-risk by the CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest consulting your physician prior to partaking in a whitewater rafting excursion.


Prior to joining us on the water, we ask that each of our guests adhere to preventative safety measures such as self-assessing for potential COVID-19 indicators such as cough, fever, or other warning signs as determined by the CDC. Additionally, upon arrival and check-in at Camp, all guests and staff will be screened for body temperatures using a contactless thermometer.


Due to the nature of swimming and whitewater rafting, face coverings are not required while in the rafts. However, we do adhere to CDC guidelines pertaining to face coverings during the following instances:

  • Upon Checking in with host
  • During the group safety talk
  • When entering the restrooms at our camp
  • While traveling in the Sierra Whitewater Vehicles
  • While waiting in line for any food service

To adhere to these guidelines, we ask that all guests bring face coverings, as well as a plastic ziplock bag for storage during your excursion to your scheduled trip. If a member of your party forgets their face covering, Sierra Whitewater will have them available for purchase.


Sierra Whitewater prides itself on doing the utmost to ensure guest safety and satisfaction in every facet of their experience, from food service to gear outfitting. While we have always exceeded safety measures as suggested for our industry, we have added a number of enhanced practices.

Transportation — In addition to reducing the number of people in all vehicles, face coverings and hand washing/sanitizing is required before boarding. Once on board additional precautions include: maximizing physical distancing, opening windows whenever possible, and eliminating the use of recirculation mode for the air conditioner/heater. All vehicles are cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Equipment — With an emphasis on reducing or eliminating shared items, all personal gear including helmets, PFDs, tents, sleep kits, and dry bags are assigned for the whole trip, clearly marked and distinguishable from others. Other communal items are sanitized frequently, or have been eliminated. For example, group games that involve close contact and touching of a common object are restricted.

Following every trip, all equipment is properly sanitized or laundered utilizing CDC approved cleaners and methods. Tents and sleeping pads are sanitized and/or cycled out of use for 72 hours.

Hand washing — Our Camp is outfitted with restrooms with hot running water as well as sanitizing stations at all tables during check-in and food service, as well as in our vehicles. Additionally, we suggest bringing personal hand sanitizer for use on the raft, or if you are otherwise in immediate need.

Food service — In addition to our existing safe food handling procedures, measures, and protocols, Sierra Whitewater has placed an added emphasis on minimizing any potential risk of cross contact during dining. Out of the utmost caution and care for our guests and staff, we have removed communal and self-serve food options. During this time, all meals will be served by a dedicated staff member with the use of a face covering and following all necessary sanitization procedures and other preventative measures.


During group-led safety talks, in addition to wherever else is feasible, Sierra Whitewater asks our patrons to adhere to physical distancing measures. With an emphasis on spacing between your group’s pod and others’.


If a guest or guide exhibits and COVID-19 symptoms, we will respectfully remove them from the scheduled trip, with increased flexibility for rescheduling once the appropriate quarantine measures have been followed.

Ask a Question

Couldn’t find the answer to your question? Feel free to use the form below to contact us and ask your question directly. We will get back to you as soon as possible!

5 + 9 =