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The 2017 California Whitewater Rafting Season Update [MAP]

April 3rd, 2017 Jamie Low

The above map shows our current forecast for the coming rafting season; we will post updates both here and on the All-Outdoors Facebook page as new information is released.

The 2017 California Whitewater Rafting Season: Explore 10 California Rivers Between Now and October!

It’s been a long (and wet) winter in California, and everyone here at All-Outdoors is excited to finally get back out on the river. With a series of big Winter storms behind us, a deep Sierra snowpack and full upstream reservoirs will provide us with one of the best seasons for rafting we have seen in the past decade.

If you’re considering a rafting trip with us this year, your biggest challenge might be trying to decide which river to explore, or planning when to go. We encourage you to contact us to tell us about what kind of experience you want for your group, so we can help you pick the best river at the best time. We love talking about rafting almost as much as we love spending time on the river, so please don’t be shy. We’re here to help!

In the meantime, here’s some information to help you narrow down your options:

Which California River Will You Explore?

All-Outdoors operates professionally guided whitewater rafting trips on 10 California rivers. Explore this section of the website to find great photos, videos, maps and descriptions of each of the rivers and trip options we offer. River trip options vary in a range of ways, including level of difficulty, length of trip, minimum age requirements, driving distance and available trip options. If you’re flexible on dates, first consider what kind of experience you want for your group.

When Should You Go Rafting?

We offer rafting trips in California from April until the end of October every year, and each river has it’s own season that ranges in duration depending on upstream reservoirs or the rate of melt-off from the Sierra snowpack.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly trip with the kids, or if you have people in your group that are new to whitewater rafting, you will have fun summer and fall trip options to choose from between July and October almost every day of the week.

Those seeking the thrills of big-water rapids or technical rafting have plenty of options this year. The Spring season months of April, May and June are expected to provide higher than average flows this year, while some of our more technical Class IV & V rivers only run later in the season once the water levels go back down to normal.

Read on to learn more about which rivers will be running during the Spring, Summer and Fall:

  • Go Rafting This Spring (April, May, June)
    Experienced paddlers know that Spring in California provides the setting for some of the most beautiful and exciting rafting trips anywhere in the world. People come from all over to visit our river canyons when they are bursting with Spring colors and the rivers are flowing fast and high. With an exceptionally big Sierra snowpack, this year is going to be especially rewarding for those lucky enough to find themselves exploring these stretches of whitewater.Paddlers will have more rivers to choose from at this time of year, including the South Fork of the American River, Tuolumne RiverMerced River,  Kaweah River, North Fork of the StanislausNorth Fork of the American & the California Salmon.

    Note: Spring flows on the Middle Fork of the American River are expected to be too high until the end of June. At high flows the river starts to “washout” and some rapids need to be portaged – for that reason trips are not offered during this high water period. Flows should return back to normal by early July.

    • Go Rafting in the Fall (September – October)
      Fall in California is a great time to go rafting: while the weather often remains warm, the river gets less crowded once the kids go back to school. The regular rafting season on the South Fork of the American River will continue through the end of October, while the Middle Fork of the American River will be available through most of September.

Trips on the Tuolumne River, and our most advanced Class V run on Cherry Creek (Upper Tuolumne) will continue until Monday, September 4th, 2017.

Bonus: Every October there is a special scheduled release on the Class IV-IV+ Goodwin Canyon section of the Lower Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry. Dates for our “Goodwin Canyon Double Days” are typically announced sometime in August or September.

Season projections are subject to change due to weather conditions that may affect the snowpack and timing of the spring runoff.

Keep checking back here for updates, and if you want to dig into greater detail about the flows for each river, check our Real-Time Flow Reports for California Rivers for more detailed information about this year’s seasonal flow projections.

If you want any help planning your trip, just reach out by phone, email, Live Chat.

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