Spring Rafting: North Fork American River VideoApril 13th, 2008 Malina
After a winter hitting the slopes or (more likely) spending far too much time indoors, the North
The American River system has three forks–the North, South and Middle Forks–and all have their charms. But for springtime rafting trips, the North Fork takes the cake. It may not have the flood of poppies nature unleashes on the slopes of Mount Murphy in Coloma above the South Fork, and it may not have the celebrity status of the Middle Fork’s Tunnel Chute rapid, but it does have beautiful green water rushing past sculptured granite boulders, and class IV rapids that can’t be beat. Part of the magic of the North Fork is that it’s fleeting–the river’s free-flowing status means the rafting season is entirely dependant on Mother Nature. When the snow in the Sierra starts to melt and rushes downstream it’s time to dig out the wool socks, fleece hat, and wetsuit and head to put-in. The North Fork’s season never lasts long so you just have to jump on it. By the time temperatures are blazing and the hills are golden the green waters of the North Fork American River will have subsided to a lazy–and unraftable–trickle and whitewater rafters will have to head to other canyons to find adventure.