The 2024 California Whitewater Rafting Season Update

Posted April 8, 2024 by Lenka Bostian
Last updated on June 6, 2024

All-Outdoors operates professionally guided whitewater rafting trips on 10 California rivers. River trip options vary in a range of ways, including the level of difficulty, length of trip, minimum age requirements, driving distance, seasonality, and available itineraries. Consider what kind of experience you want for yourself and for your group before selecting a river and date.

Great Flows on All Rivers in California!

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 snowmelt. 2024 is a great year for rafting: a healthy Sierra snowpack and full reservoirs set us up for a long, full season of whitewater rafting fun that will go all the way through  October. 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 great options to choose from this season!

California Rafting Season Update

Summer and Fall Rafting (June – October)

Summer and fall rafting in 2024 will be excellent! Upstream reservoirs will be releasing healthy flows for rafting on a consistent, regular schedule all summer and into fall. Summertime favorites include the South Fork of the American, Middle Fork of the American, and the Tuolumne River. Rafting season on Cherry Creek (Upper Tuolumne) will begin once the river flows get to normal levels in early July. Additionally, every October there is a special scheduled release on the Class IV+ Goodwin Canyon section of the Lower Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry.

2024 California Rafting Season – River by River

South Fork American

The rafting season on this fan-favorite river opened in April and will run through October. Excellent flows for rafting are guaranteed six days a week (no Wednesdays) through Labor Day, September 2, and four days a week later in September (Thursday-Sunday) and October (Friday-Monday). The best time for the Class I-II Tom Sawyer Float Trips on the easy section of the South Fork will be from late June through September.

Middle Fork American

Rafting on the Middle Fork began on Memorial Day weekend – Saturday, May 25. Rafters will benefit from reliable water releases six days a week (no Mondays) through Labor Day, September 2. After that, river trips will be available every day except Monday and Thursday through the end of September. This year’s long season provides a great opportunity for our wonderful overnight river trips through Middle Fork’s wilderness canyon.

Merced River

With plenty of snow stored in Yosemite National Park’s high country, the mighty Merced was a hoot this year with big roller coaster waves and lots of forward paddling. The rafting season started in April and was expected to go through the end of June. Above average temperatures experienced in early June increased the rate of snowmelt and as a result, the rafting season ended in mid-June.

Tuolumne River

The Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River will be a great rafting choice all season long!  The river is still enjoying higher flows provided by the melting snowpack in the High Sierra, so if you are looking for an extra punch, the best time to experience this is now. By early July these higher spring flows will decrease to normal levels and the Tuolumne will continue to offer very exciting Class IV+ rafting all the way through Labor Day, September 2.

North Fork of the Stanislaus River

Back for its second season in a row, North Stan’s healthy low-elevation snowpack provided us with a short, fun-filled season lasting through mid-May.

North Fork of the American River

This most difficult of the three forks of the American River had a great season this year. By early June the river flows dropped too low and the season here is done until 2025.

Kaweah River

Although the winter began dry, the April 1 snowpack readings in the southern Sierra reported 100% of historical average. As a result, the rafting season on the Kaweah River will likely run through mid-June this year.

Goodwin Canyon

Our Goodwin Canyon season will run for three weekends in October when water releases from the upstream dam are increased to help the spawning salmon. This hidden Class IV+ stretch of the lower Stanislaus River will be available during our Goodwin Canyon Double Runs on October 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27.

California Salmon

The river flows on this northernmost river we run had a healthy season thanks to a generous amount of snow in its watershed. By mid-June the river flows dropped too low for Class V rafting and our season here is over.

Cherry Creek / Upper Tuolumne

The rafting season on Cherry Creek will start once river flows decrease to normal levels, which is expected to happen in early July this year. The best time to plan a Cherry Creek trip will be between mid-July and September 2 which is the last day of planned water releases for rafting on this river.

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

We’d love to help you choose the best time and the best river for your rafting trip! Contact us by phone, email, Live Chat.


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