[VIDEO] California’s Top Two Wilderness Rafting Vacations

Posted July 6, 2022 by Gregg Armstrong, Co-Founder
Video by Jack Armstrong: grandson of founder George Armstrong

California’s Wilderness Whitewater Wonders

Leave your day to day world behind and venture into a scenic river canyon that is only a few hours from the San Francisco Bay Area. California offers two stunning locations for amazing multi-day wilderness rafting trips: the Middle Fork of the American and the Tuolumne River.

Remarkable Characteristics of Both Rivers and Canyons:
Beautiful remote 2000’ deep wilderness canyon
Refreshing, crystal clear, Sierra Nevada water
Side hikes to swimming holes & waterfalls
Everything needed for trip carried by raft
Secluded shoreline beach camps
Uncrowded / limited access
Long rafting season
Good water flows
Healthy fishery
Class IV whitewater
Serene calm sections
Gold Rush history and artifacts
Easy access from major highways
Meeting place for trips near quaint towns
One is near Lake Tahoe the other near Yosemite

Middle Fork of the American River (Class III-IV): Epic Scenery & Inflatable Kayaks

  • The perfect introduction to multi-day wilderness rafting trips.
  • Excellent value when compared to other mini-vacation options.
  • The meet place is in Foresthill, 17 miles from Hwy 80 on the way to Lake Tahoe.
  • Has the infamous Tunnel Chute rapid followed by a river tunnel made by gold miners.
  • Has a relatively fast moving “calm” section in the middle of the run allowing for a more relaxing float and an opportunity to try navigating two-person inflatable kayaks through Class II rapids.

Tuolumne River (Class IV-IV+): Champagne of California Rafting

  • The ultimate multi-day wilderness rafting trip in California.
  • Only two commercial trips are permitted to start per day ensuring a secluded experience.
  • The proximity to Yosemite National Park allows for amazing hiking and rafting Yosemite getaways.
  • Springtime trips usually have fast, powerful whitewater, while summer trips provide challenging maneuvering and big drops.
  • Options to combine the trip with Class V Cherry Creek for an incomparable whitewater adventure.

Do you know which trip you want to plan first? View our trip availability and Book Now.

Author Bio

Gregg Armstrong

Gregg is the middle child of George and Dolores Armstrong's five children. He has been working with All-Outdoors since it was founded. He guided and set up early operations on California rivers in the 70's and 80's before making marketing for AO and reservations his main responsibilities. One of his claims to fame is that he and his wife Marion had triplets, who grew up to enjoy rafting and outdoor activities as much as he does. When not doing AO and family life he loves to ski, garden, and spend time with people.


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