The 2021 California Whitewater Rafting Season Update [MAP]

Posted April 9, 2021 by Sammy Russo

California Rafting Update June 2021

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

Be sure to check our COVID Update: California Rafting in 2021 for information about our current mitigation measures.

Which California Rivers Flow Well in a Drought Year?

Even during the drought, water stored in upstream reservoirs gets released on a schedule to generate hydropower, provide water for drinking and irrigation – and gives the tax paying public the bonus of reliable flows for recreational whitewater boating! Read our post When in Drought, There’s Still Water For Rafting to learn more!

Whether you are looking for a family-friendly trip with the kids, or a thrilling ride for your group of experienced rafters, you will have options to choose from all season long.

Which 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 the level of difficulty, length of trip, minimum age requirements, driving distance, and available itineraries. Consider what kind of experience you want for yourself and for your group before selecting a river and date.

When Should You Go Rafting?

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

Spring Rafting (April – May)

California’s “free flowing” stretches of river (no reservoirs above the runs) rely only on spring snowmelt for raftable flows. We were able to run most of these rivers for a short period of time from April to mid-May, and included the North Fork of the American & Kaweah Rivers. The Merced River and California Salmon flowed well until the end of May. Trips were available this spring on our most popular “dam controlled” river, the South Fork of the American River.

Summer & Fall Rafting (June – October)

During the summer and fall months, we will continue to offer trips on select rivers with upstream reservoirs that provide reliable flows, including the South Fork of the American River, Middle Fork of the American River, Tuolumne River and Cherry Creek (Upper Tuolumne). Additionally, every October there is a special scheduled release on the Class IV-IV+ Goodwin Canyon section of the Lower Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry.

Please check the map above for information on when each river will be running.

If you want to dig into greater detail about the flows for each river, check our Real-Time Flow Reports for California Rivers.

Need any help planning your trip? Just reach out by phone, email, Live Chat.


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