Rafting Maytag Rapid on the North Fork Yuba River
Client quote about best river trip, great rapids and amaxing guide

North Fork of the Yuba River Rafting

Rafting on the North Fork Yuba River offers both veterans and active first-timers, a variety of Class 3 - Class 5 whitewater rafting thrills, from  1 - 4 days, on over 35 miles of river. Even at lower flows, the North Yuba River still offers exciting rafting in smaller boats.

North Fork Yuba River rafting trips are subject to snow melt and so season varies with the snow pack. Check out current condition predictions for the latest information. Trips usually start in April and flows peak most years in May. In a big snow pack year it can run into July, but it might take more than a Miracle March to have that happen this year.

For June-Sept trips check out intermediate/adventurous or intermediate/difficult rafting trips, and be sure to look for available Hot Deal discounts.

For later trips check out intermediate/adventurous or intermediate/difficult rafting trips, and be sure to look for available Hot Deal discounts.

On a 1 day Class 4 rafting trip on the North Yuba, we run the Maytag section. For 2 days of Class 4 you can combine this with the Bullards Bar run or the North Fork American River(another great Class 4 river). For even more adventure, the 2nd day of rafting can be on the Class 5 section of Moss Canyon and Rossasco Ravine. Rafting on the North Fork Yuba River through the rapids in Moss Canyon

The Moss Canyon/Rossasco Ravine section of the North Yuba River is also offered as a one day Class 5 rafting trip where clients have solid previous Class 4 experience. On occasions we can also offer a combination run of the 6 miles of Moss Canyon and most of the Maytag run for a 14 mile trip. This also requires previous Class 4 experience.

On North Fork Yuba River rafting trips we travel through the heavily forested Tahoe National Forest, on waters fed by the snow-melt from the majestic 8000+ peaks of the Sierra Buttes. It is located at the north end of the fabled Mother Lode highway (Hwy 49) and nearby are the rustic and charming gold mining towns of Downieville and Sierra City. Despite its proximity to the Bay Area, the North Fork Yuba river is an uncrowded gem, with just 3 permitted outfitters. Tributary is one of the original companies who pioneered this river for commercial rafting in 1981. There is a good selection of restaurants, interesting shops, cozy motels & saloons, historic landmarks and plentiful camping.

Each of the 4 sections below can be run as a 1 day trip, or combined for rafting trips of 2-4 days on class 4 and 5 whitewater at an elevation is 2320-4240 ft. The season varies by section (see below) and is from April into July, though late April and May trips are the most reliable in the majority of years. The meeting location is near Indian Valley campground, off Hwy 49, between Nevada City and Downieville and camping in rustic surrounds is available.

Our overnight trips include camping at our Tributary Camp (rustic, no showers, port-o-potties), and all meals starting with Lunch on day 1. Camping equipment is not included but tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are available for rent.

North Fork Yuba River rafting - Maytag Run, Goodyear’s Bar to Indian Valley: 

Class: 4 with 1 class 5 (strong swimming skills required)
Length: 9 miles, 1 day trip
Season: April thru mid-July (depending on snow pack) 
Elevation: 2640 - 2320
Location: Meeting at Tributary Camp, off Highway 49 between Camptonville and Downieville

This section of the North Fork Yuba River is the most often run section of the river and a great Class 4 run, which can be suitable for the active and adventurous first-timer when flows are not too high. There is an introductory 2 miles of Class 2-3 rapids, followed by Class 3 and 4 action including “Ramshorn” and the double drops of “Two Pair”. Six miles into the trip is the highlight - the Class 5 “Maytag”. We stop above this rapid and scout it, so all clients have the option of walking around. The Class 4 “Son of Maytag” falls follows quickly, with more Class 3 action  to the take-out.

North Fork Yuba River - Moss Canyon/Maytag Combo, Union Flat to Downieville & Convict Flat to Indian Valley:

Class: 4-5 (strong swimming skills required)
Length: 14 miles, 1 day trip
Season: April thru mid-July (depending on snow pack) 
Elevation: 3350 - 2640
Location: Meeting at Tributary Camp, off Highway 49 between Camptonville and Downieville

This is a custom trip that is sometimes available for experienced groups. Nearly continuous Class 4-5 rapids in the first 6 miles, with 3 large Class 4/5 drops in 1 mile through Moss Canyon above Downieville. We stop for lunch in the quaint town of Downieville, then take a quick shuttle around Rossasco Ravine (a very tough section with a small window of runnable flows). We then put-in again to tackle the best part of Maytag run which includes all of the Class 4 and the Class 5 Maytag rapid.

North Fork Yuba River - Moss Canyon/Rossasco Ravine, Union Flat to Goodyear's Bar:

Class: 5 (strong swimming skills, and previous class 4 required)
Length: 10 miles, 1 day trip
Season: April thru mid-July (depending on snow pack) 
Elevation: 3350 - 2640
Location: Meeting at Tributary Camp, off Highway 49 between Camptonville and Downieville

Nearly continuous Class 4-5 rapids in the first 6 miles, with 3 large Class 4/5 drops in 1 mile through Moss Canyon above Downieville. The Downie River enters in Downieville adding considerably to the flow, and below this is a long series of rapids in Rossasco Ravine, including “Big Dummy”. At higher flows this may have to be portaged due to the chute ending in a huge hole. Previous Class 4 paddling experience required with excellent swimming ability.

North Fork Yuba River - Bullards Bar Wilderness run, Indian Valley to Bullards Bar:

Class: 4 (strong swimming skills required)
Length: 8 miles, 1 day trip
Season: April thru mid-July (depending on snow pack) 
Elevation: 2320
Location: Meeting at Tributary Camp, off Highway 49 between Camptonville and Downieville

This is a beautiful wilderness section of river, providing exceptional Class 4 whitewater. It is usually combined with the ‘Maytag’ stretch for 2 days of excellent Class 4 rafting. Due to the lack of access that requires a motor tow across the length of Bullards Bar Reservoir, or an interesting 4x4 take-out on a little used road, this section is seen by few boaters and is not detailed in any guide books. However, it is well worth taking the time for a great combination of whitewater and wilderness.

North Fork Yuba River - Wild Plum Run, Haypress Creek to Union Flat : 

Available as a custom trip only!!
Class: 5+ (strong swimming skills, and previous class 5 experience required)
Length: 8 miles, 1 day trip
Season: April thru May (depending on snow pack) 
Elevation: 4240 - 3350
Location: Meeting at Tributary Camp, off Highway 49 between Camptonville and Downieville

This section of the North Fork Yuba River is only offered to previously Class 5 qualified Tributary Whitewater Tours clients, or for those with verifiable solid Class 5 previous experience with another California rafting outfitter. It offers high mountain scenery and plenty of Class 5 action with the most note-worthy section being Ladies Canyon. it is a more technically difficult run than the Class 5 section of Moss Canyon. It has the shortest season of any of the other sections of the North Yuba River, as downstream flows are increased by the addition of flows from the Downie River and several large side creeks.

Distances/Times for travel to North Fork Yuba River rafting:

17 mins SW of Downieville (11 miles)

55 mins N of Grass Valley (36 miles)
1.5 hrs N. of Auburn (60 miles)

1.25 hrs NE of Yuba City (55 miles)

1.75 hrs SE of Chico (79 miles)

<2 hrs NE of Sacramento (94 miles)
1.75 hrs W. of Truckee (71 miles)
2 hrs NW of Incline Village (87 miles)
2.25 hrs W of Reno (100 miles)
2.5 hrs NE of Stockton (145 miles)
3.5 hrs NE of San Francisco (180 miles)

4 hrs NE of San Jose (207 miles)

PLEASE ALLOW EXTRA TIME DURING BUSY HOLIDAY PERIODS

Please click on the map to the right for more detailed map and directions to the North Fork Yuba River area. 

North Fork Yuba River White water Rafting  Map


North Fork Yuba River Rafting - where to meet, where to stay:

Other Class 4 rafting trips to consider:

 

Other Class 5 California Rafting Trips:

Printer Friendly Version of this Page  


© 2014 Tributary Whitewater ToursSite Map
")); href=li class=East Carson River/guide.htmrdquo; and the double drops of 0 North Fork Yuba River Rafting - Area InformationCalifornia Rafting Gift Certificates