California rafting guides preparing lunch on the Middle Fork American River
Client quote about excellent guides, delicious and plentiful food

California Rafting Meals & Menus

Our meals always consist of plentiful, fresh and wholesome ingredients, and we find our clients are often surprised at the sumptuous feast that is produced riverside - even on a wilderness style trip when all the food and equipment is transported in separate oar rafts.  

We will cater to special requirements on request, including vegan diets, and gluten free restrictions. Vegetarians usually have no problems, even if we are not informed ahead of time. However we always prefer to know so we can adjust the quantities accordingly, especially if many in the group do not eat meat. Unfortunately it is not possible to supply kosher meals as we have found that the items are just not available in the local area.  

We will be glad to quote you for the addition of any extra meals, like a BBQ for a group after a trip, meals for non-rafters, lunch after a 1/2 day morning trip, first day breakfast etc.   


  • While guides cut and prepare the main lunch items, you will be served with some snacks of chips and salsa, fresh vegetable crudities and dip to be munching.
  • Lunch usually consists of a deli-style spread with a selection of breads, meats and cheeses. This is "help yourself, make your own" style with all the trimmings (tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, onions, sprouts, pickles, mustard, mayo).
  • For additional lunches on a multi-day trip (or as an alternate to the deli spread) we might also serve:
    • Chinese chicken salad with tortillas (water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, bamboo shoots, cabbage, crunchy noodles) and fortune cookies
    • Curry chicken salad with pita bread (apples, mayo, Dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, sprouts, tomatoes, avocados, onions)
    • River Burritos with tortillas (black beans, shredded cheese, corn, sour cream, green onions)
    • Humus and tabouli with pita bread for vegan's
  • Peanut butter and jelly are always available.
  • Fresh in season fruit, cookies and soft drinks round things out.


  • Appetizers: usually vegetables & dips; cheese & crackers; and chips & salsa.
  • Main Course: barbecued chicken and/or tri-tip, baked potatoes or corn, mixed salad with artichokes, garlic bread. Vegetarian & vegan options are available, and may be garden burgers or lasagna.
  • Desert: Dutch-oven baked desserts (brownies, upside pineapple cake) served with whipped cream or a delectable cheese cake with fresh fruit.
  • Drinks: A moderate amount of beer and wine is available, and also soft drinks and hot beverages.


Most important item first thing in the morning for many is the hot brewed coffee, and the guides will tempt you from your sleeping bags with the aroma.

  • Before the main breakfast course, there will pastries, fresh seasonal fruit and juice available, plus milk, coffee and hot water for a selection of teas and chocolate.
  • Scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, served with hash browns, pancakes or cinnamon toast (clients rave about Don's version)
  • Occasionally we may have to serve a continental breakfast if there is an early departure eg. on a South/Middle American River combo. In addition to the pastries and fresh fruit always available, there might be granola, yogurt, bagels & lox  

Appetizers served before dinner on a California Rafting trip   Corn of the cob is often served with a California rafting BBQ dinner  Dinner is always accompanied by a plentiful fresh salad ingredients

Read what our clients have to say:

Summer A. Prescott Valley, AZ - Yelp Reviewer
"Meals at the camp and on the river were awesome! Not just hamburgers and chips like we expected but well thought out meals. We had BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, steak, and even "Chef Dave" made scratch lasagna in the Dutch oven. As appetizers there were fruit and cheese platters, spinach dip, and a glass of wine to top it off. The brownies Dave made in the Dutch oven were the best I have tasted! While on the river we had great sandwiches and chicken wraps. My sister is gluten free and they even took that into account and made separate meals that she could enjoy as well. The whole Tributary crew contributed to prepping and cooking the meals and we enjoyed playing cards and talking about their worldly adventures while they cooked from the heart."
(from a 2 day South Fork / Middle Fork American River overnight trip)

Alex U. Glendale, CA - Yelp Reviewer
"For lunch they served us pineapple, salsa and chips, fruit, and an assortment of meats and cheese for sandwiches with fresh avocado and everything you'll need for the perfect sandwich, but that's not even the best part. Once we finished our tour we got back to our camp site to find Dave cooking us a MEAN dinnner!! This was the best meal I had my entire trip., he made us a fresh salad, corn, tri tip (bombest tri tip ever!!!!!!) , mash potatoes, and BBQ chicken( which was the juiciest chicken I've ever had) he even brought us a whole cooler of beer!!"
(from a 2 day Middle Fork American River overnight trip)  

Lisa G. Fresno, CA - Yelp Reviewer
"Lunch was better than I expected. appetizers were fresh fruit platter, carrots and cucumber with ranch, red pepper hummus, oreos, and chips and salsa with tea and water readily available. main course was a deli spread and i was very happy that they do not skimp on the avocado lol."
(from a 1 day Middle Fork American River trip)

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