South Fork of the American River Rafting - Lotus Run (easiest)
This American River rafting trip is suitable for kids from 4-5 years old, and ideal when you have a mixed group, with some of the group looking for more action and adventure. The entire group can raft on the first 4 miles of the South Fork American ‘Gorge’ run (AKA the Lotus Run), which is easy and contains milder Class 1 & 2 rapids. The trip then stops at our Rivers Bend camp for lunch. After lunch, the more adventurous (and youths from 7-8 years) can continue on and tackle the Class 3 rapids through the ‘Gorge’, while the younger children, seniors and/or pregnant ladies, can play in camp, visit the nearby Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park or take some easy local hikes. Both groups meet back at camp about 3 hours later.
This raft trip is usually only scheduled in conjunction with the regular 1-day raft trip on the ‘Gorge’, but ask about this run if you have a minimum group of 6 who want a mellow float and have only a few hours to spare.
American River rafting - Great for School or Youth Group raft trips:
We can also offer this as an educational trip including some extra miles from the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and a side trip to the Dave Moore Nature Trail.
American River rafting - options for longer trips:
If you are looking for an overnight rafting trip or something a bit longer, check out the Lower Middle Fork American River, which can also be offered as a combo with the South Fork American River Lotus Run and an overnight campout in our riverside camp. For additional multi day trip options see Rafting with Children - easier runs and Family Specials for discounted trip dates.
Length: 4 miles, May - Oct
Elevation: 930 ft
Location: Just off Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn
NOTICE: Water flows in the South Fork American River result from releases from hydroelectric facilities located upstream. Such water releases are not subject to the control of El Dorado County or commercial rafting companies operating under permit from the County of El Dorado.
Distances/Times for travel to the South Fork American River:
Placerville...........15 mins/12 miles S
Sacramento........1 hr/53 miles W
San Francisco....2 ¼ hrs/134 miles SW
S. Lake Tahoe....1 ¾ hrs/72 miles E
Stockton.............1 ¾ hrs/98 miles S.
Sonora, Columbia, Angels Camp, Jamestown.........<2 hrs/84 miles S
PLEASE ALLOW EXTRA TIME DURING BUSY HOLIDAY PERIODS
Click on the area map below for a more detailed map and directions to the South Fork American River.
South Fork American River Rafting - where to meet, where to stay:
- South Fork American River rafting - area information
- South Fork American River rafting - map and directions
Other options for Class 1-2+ California rafting trips:
- Rafting with Children - easiest
- Family Specials (kids raft for 20%- 50% off adult rates) - trips 2-4 days
- Lower Middle Fork American River (1/2 day)
- Lower North Fork American River (1/2 day - 1 day)
- Lower Middle Fork American/South Fork American Lotus Run combo (overnight)
- Lower Middle Fork American/Lower North Fork American combo (overnight)
- Lower Middle Fork American/South Fork American combo (overnight)
- East Fork Carson River (1-2 days, wilderness run only)
Options for more adventurous Class 3 rafting trips:
- South Fork American River - 1/2 day, 1 day or 2 days also see Family Specials
- Truckee River (Boca Run) - 1/2 day
- Lower Klamath River - 2-4 days
- Trinity River - 2 days
- East Fork Carson River (1/2 day only)