What happened to the Middle Fork of the American River?

Posted July 1, 2011 by Malina

You may have noticed the Middle Fork of the American river has been getting a seriously cold shoulder from us so far in 2011.  What gives?  Well, high snow pack and warm weather may be a magic combo for many California rivers, but for the Middle Fork, it means taking an extended Spring Break. 

When flows get over 2000 CFS on the Middle Fork of the American, we typically don’t run it for a host of logistical reasons.   For example, there are a number of rapids–including the iconic and beloved Tunnel Chute–that we literally cannot run.  Instead we have to”portage” them, meaning carry the boats around.  Pretty sure that’s not your idea of fun.

So this year, with the awesome snowpack, we have to wait it out until early July to run this class IV river.  Luckily for you, there are waaaaaay more options than there usually are this time of year, so don’t shed too many tears for the Middle Fork.   Use this as motivation to finally check out the Merced or the North Fork of the Stanislaus. 

But of course we’ll be the first to let you know when we do start running trips on the  Middle Fork in 2011.

(Above: Tunnel Chute in full summer glory)


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