The All-Outdoors Whitewater Rafting California River Blog

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Join AO for the Goodwin Canyon “Double Days” Weekend!

September 25th, 2014 Jamie Low

Goodwin Canyon Double Days 2014

Have you been waiting to hear when Goodwin Canyon will be running this year? So have we! And today we finally have some great news: after meeting with the government agencies and environmental organizations that manage upstream water resources, they have told us we should have great flows the weekend of October 25 & 26! We are still waiting on final confirmation of flows, and while they are not able to provide a 100% guarantee of projected flows on this date, we believe we can confidently offer this trip. Please read on for more details:

Now Taking Reservations for Goodwin Canyon “Double Days”!
We are now accepting reservations for this special event, so if you’ve been waiting for this announcement please contact us now to save your spot. You can call us during our fall office hours (10am to 4pm, Mon-Fri) at (800) 247-2387, email us at rivers@aorafting.com or start a Live Chat.

What is Goodwin Goodwin Canyon “Double Days”?
This is a very special annual series of rafting trips that occurs every fall on the Goodwin Canyon section of the Stanislaus River. Special water releases allow us to run these trips in October, and we make the most of the opportunity by running the four miles of river twice in one day (hence the name: Double Days)!

In the morning, we drive to the top of the river, run the four miles of Class II, III and IV+ rapids, ending up at a well deserved barbecue lunch (Yum!) Then we get to drive back up to the top and do it all over again! Many of our guests comment how much fun it is to do a trip this way, because the first time goes by so fast you can barely remember what the rapids looked like. The second run gives you a chance to appreciate the scenery a bit more (and possibly gives you the opportunity to make up for that one rapid your crew didn’t quite get right the first time down).

Why October? Isn’t rafting really more of a summer activity?
Not in California. Not only does the weather often cooperate in the early months of fall (some call it the “Indian Summer”), but releases from upstream reservoirs that are used to generate power are released on a schedule that also allows us to provide recreational boating opportunities to the public. Even in this drought year, we are expecting to run weekend trips all the way to the end of October on the South Fork of the American River.

In the case of Goodwin Canyon, this is an extra special occasion: every fall, the main Stanislaus River is visited by thousands of migrating Chinook Salmon. When the Salmon Run occurs, additional water is usually released to help these fish find their way upstream to their spawning grounds. Not only does this water allow us to see the canyon and ride the rapids, but while we are rafting downstream, we may even catch a glimpse of the Salmon making their way back upstream to spawn.

(And since this is the last weekend before Halloween, what better way to celebrate than to scare yourself a bit in “Haunted House” rapid!)

Goodwin Canyon Isn’t Just Any Rafting Trip:
If you have any interest in joining us during this very special annual event, here’s a few things you need to know:

  • The usual minimum age for this trip is 15 years old; the challenges here are not suitable for younger children.
  • Reservations are required.
  • Space sells out quickly. We currently have plenty of room, but this annual event usually sells out in advance.
  • There is a slight chance that the projected flows for this event will need to be shifted to a different weekend. Since we depend on the graces of the powers that be to make this trip happen, we don’t have the ability to guarantee this trip will happen as projected. Flows on Goodwin Canyon are subject to a wide range of variables, including timing with the fall Salmon run. We wouldn’t go to the trouble of scheduling these trips if we didn’t believe it would happen, but there is always that possibility that your trip may need to be canceled. We will notify you as soon as we get final word, and in the event the water is not released you will receive a complete refund of trip fees.

We encourage you to talk to one of our office staff if you have any questions about this trip; our goal is provide an amazing experience close to home, but part of that is making sure you know what you are getting into.

Your one-day trip fee of $179 (plus an additional 8% Government Use and Service Fee) includes:

  • 8 miles of rafting (4 miles x 2 runs);
  • Pro guide and instruction;
  • Delicious riverside barbecue lunch;
  • Equipment and shuttle.

Where is Goodwin Canyon? Only 1.5 to 2-hour road trip from anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Goodwin Canyon MapThe closest whitewater rafting trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, this hidden gem of a river is only a 1.5 to 2-hour road trip, making this one of our most convenient rafting trips.

Not many people even know that it exists.  This is a well hidden secret canyon on the lower Stanislaus River; if you’ve ever made the drive past Oakdale on Highway 120 on the way to Yosemite National Park, you probably didn’t even notice it was there. But tucked away from sight among the golden rolling foothills is a steep-walled lush volcanic slot canyon featuring fun Class III rapids and two Class IV rapids, all within a short drive from your front doorstep.

Find more information about how to get to Goodwin Canyon here:
http://www.aorafting.com/river/goodwin/trip-details.htm

 
 
Read more About Goodwin Canyon: The Lower Stanislaus River (Intermediate – Advanced / Class IV+ Rapids):
http://www.aorafting.com/river/goodwin/welcome.htm

Watch the video:
http://www.aorafting.com/river/goodwin/video.htm

Make Your Reservation Now!
Contact us during our fall office hours (10am to 4pm, Mon-Fri) at (800) 247-2387, email us at rivers@aorafting.com or start a Live Chat.

Last Call for the American River Music Festival and Rafting Trip

September 2nd, 2014 Malina

american-music-festival-banner-PFD (1)This is it! Your last chance to get tickets for the 2014 American River Music Festival and river trip is here!

How many times we gotta tell ya?  It’s an amazing deal: over 30 bands, camping, shuttles to all the venues, and of course a river trip on the upper section of the South Fork American with yours truly, AO Rafting.  All this for only $199, $149 for the kiddos!

Purchase tickets online and see the full line-up of musicians (performers include Greg Brown, Whitewater Ramble, Tommy Malone of the Subdudes, and Lauren Murphy) on the Festival website.

The whole shebang starts Friday September 12th, and runs through Sunday the 14th.

California Rivers & The 2014 Fall Whitewater Rafting Season

September 1st, 2014 Jamie Low

Map illustrating which rivers in California are running this Fall for whitewater rafting trips.

Here’s a bit more about where we will be rafting in September & October:

September Schedule

South Fork American River: Every Saturday & Sunday

The most popular destination for whitewater rafting in California, the South Fork of the American River is a great introduction to professionally guided rafting trips… the ideal river for families with kids and any group wanting to enjoy a fun yet relaxing day on the river together.

Upstream reservoirs will release water every Saturday and Sunday in September (and just in case you don’t read past this sentence, the South Fork will be raftable on Saturdays in October as well.)  Those considering a trip on Thursday or Friday this month should consider the small step up to the Middle Fork of the American River:

Middle Fork American River: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

Tunnel Chute rapid has to be one of the coolest rapids in California–it’s a heart-pounding ride down a chute literally carved out of solid rock that ends in a placid float through a small hill.  What???  Yes, it’s true, and you gotta see it to believe it.  Plus there’s another 16 miles of wilderness canyon with class III-IV rapids and calm stretches for day-dreaming and relaxing.

The rafting season on the Middle Fork ends on September 28th, providing opportunities for trips every Thursday through Sunday.

Bonus Tip: Considering a 2-Day trip?  Be sure to choose a trip that departs Thursday, Friday or Saturday!

October Schedule

South Fork American River: Saturdays 

Guaranteed releases for 1-Day or Express trips will be available every Saturday until the end of October.

Goodwin Canyon: Special Seasonal Release Occurs for Two Weeks (Dates TBA) 

The closest whitewater rafting trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, the Goodwin Canyon section of the Stanislaus River will be running for two weeks in October for a special release to coincide with the Salmon run.  Exact dates have not yet been announced for the releases, but we expect to find out sometime soon. (If you’ve been meaning to check this river off of your bucket list, be sure to reserve your spot in advance!)

Next Steps: Check For Available Space or Contact Us

During the Fall rafting season, our office is open Monday through Friday, and our river specialists are here to help you figure out everything you need to go on that rafting trip you’ve been thinking about. If you have an idea of the river and trip date you want, fill out our “Check for Available Space” form to get an answer within one business day, or contact us by Live Chat, email or just give us a call at (800) 247-2387

American River Music Festival and River Trip Sept 12-14

August 12th, 2014 Malina

Blue_Sky_Dancin_fs-300x199 Are you looking for something fun to do this September?  Look no further than our fair valley and spend the weekend at the American River Music Festival.  The fun begins on Friday, September 12th with musical performances by groups like Laura Love, Baskery, and the Rebecca Loebe Trio.

Headlining this year, the big mack daddy himself, Greg Brown!

On Saturday, you’re going to begin your day with an awesome river trip on the South Fork of the American with us, your hosts, AO Rafting. Can’t say there will be much music on the boats unless you are a good singer, but you will actually float past the main stage at Henningson Lotus park on your way to GregBrown-with-nametake-out so that’s pretty cool; you’ll certainly be able to hear the music as you meander past.  After your river trip is over you can take one of many free shuttles around the valley to catch your favorite act.  Sunday it’s more of the same!

All-Inclusive Tickets for 3 days of Fun

Over 30 bands, free shuttles, camping, and rafting trip–and all for just $199, folks.  Bring the kids! Youth tickets are $149.  Ticket sales are online through the Festival website.

(above: boogying down at last year’s festival

right: Greg Brown sees you)

Gizmodo Takes on Cherry Creek

July 17th, 2014 Jamie Low
Gizmodo: Rafting America's Most Difficult River

AOrafting on the Gizmodo homepage

Last weekend Gizmodo’s IndefintelyWild joined us on one of our Cherry Creek trips so they could see for themselves that even with the drought this year, California is a world-class destination for whitewater rafting.

Adventure travel writer Wes Siler and videographer Chris Brinlee Jr. documented their journey and produced a great piece that really does justice to what a Cherry Creek experience is all about.  If you’re considering making the leap to the Creek, this article (complete with video) is a must read.

Bonus: Enter To Win a Boatload!

We partnered up to giveaway a fantastic prize to help us promote the great rafting season we are having this year:  If you win, you get to bring a boatload of your friends on any river we run this season!

That includes the South and Middle Forks of the American River, the Tuolumne and even Cherry Creek (for those who are ready for it.)

Be sure to enter the contest (it’s easy) and share it with your friends to increase your chances.  (If your friend wins, they just might bring you along.)

Details and entry form can be found here:

Enter to Win a Whitewater Rafting Trip on Any River All-Outdoors Runs This Season

Jamie Low started guiding for All-Outdoors in 1990, falling in love with whitewater boating, rivers (and a local girl) in the Sierra Foothills of California; he now works as a Search Engine Marketing Consultant specializing in helping publishers and adventure-based travel clients find and connect with their larger audiences.  Connect with Jamie on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn

American River Music Festival September 2014: Raft and Rock Out!

July 16th, 2014 Malina

american-music-festival-banner-PFD (1)

Eight Years and Counting! Celebrating Music and Rivers

It’s back! The annual American River Music Festival is back for another awesome weekend of music, camping, and a festival river trip!  We’re excited to be partnering with the festival again this year, and will be running a special Upper “Chili Bar” trip on the South Fork of the American River for festival goers.

Now That’s a What I Call a Good Deal

Get this people.  A ticket is $199 and gets you: over 30 musical performances, camping, shuttles all around the valley to different venues, and a river trip with AO Rafting!  And it’s for THREE DAYS.  Ok, only one day of rafting, but three days of festival goodness.  For $199.  Only $149 for kids.

Music Galore

There are 9 venues at this year’s festival, including the campgrounds, so you will literally be surrounded by music all weekend long, whether you’re grabbing coffee at the Bakery, Pizza at Marco’s, or seeing the headliners on the main stage at Henningson Lotus Park.

You’re Hooked, So Book!

AO Rafting will be your hosts on the festival river trip, but all ticket sales are run through the festival website.  Learn more about the musical line-up, the camping options, and book your tickets before they sell out!

Family Fun: South Fork American Float Trips

July 8th, 2014 Malina

family-banner2Little kids and water–the perfect summer combo right?  But there are minimum ages for whitewater rafting trips. What’s a tiny rafter to do? If you’re just knee-high to a grasshopper and kindergarten is your reality, not a distant memory, you’re not certainly  headed to the Middle Fork, and even the South Fork’s class III rapids are out of reach.

Enter the Tom Sawyer Float Trip to save the summer!  Running through the Coloma-Lotus Valley, this gentle introduction to rafting was developed for families with young kids–our minimum age guideline is 5 years old.  This part of the South Fork is in between the Class III whitewater runs of the upper “Chili Bar” and the lower “Gorge” sections of the river.  As it meanders through the valley, the river has only gentle Class II rapids.  Splashy riffles give the wee ones a  taste of excitement, and there are long stretches of lazy water . . . time for water fights, blackberry picking, joke-telling and paddling inflatable kayaks for the more adventurous among you.  Lunch is served at our River Center under tall shady oaks, and all the cooking and clean-up is taken care of by our river guides–no work for mom and dad!

(Above: South Fork American Float Trips are a delightful way to spend a day on the water as a family)

Top Five things to check out after a South Fork Rafting Trip

July 7th, 2014 Malina

Yes, the South Fork American is a great day trip from the Bay Area and Sacramento, but what if you have extra time and want to fill up the whole weekend?  Should you go to Napa instead?  Or head to the coast?  Not so fast, my pretties.  I’m not saying I’d turn either one down– I totally would not, I am aware of the pastries at Bouchon Bakery and the Oysters at Hog Island–but what I am saying is that you can make quite a lovely weekend here in our sleepy Coloma-Lotus Valley. You don’t even have to go to Placerville or Apple Hill.  You can stay right here and have a grand ol’ time the day after your river trip.

1) Sleep Somewhere Awesome.

Eden Vale Resort

First, wake up at Eden Vale Inn.  Which is not actually in the Valley, but  . . . it’s like 10 minutes from our office and that’s pretty close.  Eden Vale is one of those places that you see the brochure and you think “that looks great.  Too great.  They must be stock photos so I’m heading to the Best Western where I know exactly what I’m gonna get.”  But friends, I have been to Eden Vale and I wanted to stay forever.  Like I wanted to move in.  It’s as beautiful as you want it to be.  If you are a purist and are offended I suggested you leave our fair valley please relax and visit the swanky Bella Vista B and B instead.

Read more…

South Fork American Rafting Video

July 7th, 2014 Malina

Take a virtual tour of the Fair Lady South Fork with us, your gallant hosts, AO Rafting!   Harken to the thrill of class III rapids,  take thee a gander at the riverbank where nodding blackberries doth ripen in the summer sun.  Lo, there is the Lollipop Tree!  But enough of these musings, friends, just watch the South Fork American rafting video!

Slideshow: Middle Fork of the American River Two Day Rafting Trips

June 9th, 2014 Malina

  • Entering The Middle Fork of the American River CanyonPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Taking the boats to put-inPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • Forward Paddle!Photo: Mark Reiner
  • scouting tunnel chute rapidPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • guides and crews discuss the planPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • No way! This is so cool!Photo: Mark Reiner
  • surrounded by whitewaterPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • The Final DropPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • floating into the tunnelPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • Class IV Rapid: Thread The NeedlePhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Ready for lunch?Photo: Mark Reiner
  • pulling over for lunch and side hikePhoto: Luis Escobar
  • exploring slot canyons & waterfallsPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • hanging out with friendsPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • Waterfall in Dardanelle CanyonPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Reconnecting with friendsPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • back on the waterPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • Enjoying a calm stretchPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • unloading boats at campPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • playing riverside horseshoes Photo: Luis Escobar
  • fishing before dinnerPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • catching a momentPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Dinner's on the grillPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Camp at NightPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • Waking Up With CoffeePhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Morning in campPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • floating downstreamPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Paddling Inflatable KayaksPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Day Two Side Hike: Canyon CreekPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Waterfalls in Canyon CreekPhoto: Mark Reiner
  • time for familyPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Class IV Rapid: CleavagePhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Class IV Rapid: Parallel ParkingPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Class IV Rapid: CatapultPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Take Out at trip's endPhoto: Luis Escobar
  • Wishing it wasn't overPhoto: Luis Escobar

The Middle Fork of the American is one of our favorite rivers.  It’s close to our home base in Lotus, but once you get in the canyon you feel like you’re a million miles away.  The steep canyon walls are home to mature native trees, wildlife a plenty, and create a beautiful backdrop for wild rapids and placid stretches of calm water that invite day dreams and flights of fancy.  Our slideshow catches a whiff of the magic . . .

To learn more about the photographers featured here visit Luis Escobar online at http://reflectionsphotographystudio.com/

Adam Beasley is a singer-songwriter based in El Dorado county.  “Summer Song,” featured here, was recorded by an older incarnation of Adam’s band called North of Fifty. You can find him and his current band Uncommon Ground online (and get dates for live shows) at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uncommon-Ground/52656469470