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The American River: Rafting & Camping Weekend

Price: $299


The 18-mile trip down the Middle Fork of the American River is an experience you will never forget. This Class IV+ section of the river is the perfect mix of thrills and amazing scenery with numerous big drops, intricate technical rapids, and tons of action. This trip is ideal for thrill-seekers, experienced rafters, or athletic beginners. This is a full-day adventure of whitewater action as well as calm pools that allow you to bask in the breathtaking beauty of the 2,000-foot deep wilderness river canyon. If that isn’t enough the Middle Fork provides the added benefit of its historic significance during the California Gold Rush. Located about 45 minutes from Sacramento, the American River is nicknamed “California’s Favorite Whitewater River.”


Check out this video of the Tunnel Chute! This is one of the rapids on the Middle Fork and is on every rafting enthusiast’s bucket list, for very good reason:


It all goes down at Camp Lotus, our official Adventure People camp on the American River. This campground has bathroom and shower facilities with flush toilets and hot water. Campsites have fire rings (with a fire grate) along with picnic tables. All campers have access to the extensive riverfront along the banks of the South Fork American River. There are numerous beach access points, little coves, hidden fishing spots, and places to explore. Please be aware that Camp Lotus does NOT allow dogs. There is a strictly enforced quiet hour policy starting at 10 pm.

Adventure People reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents.


  • Meet up with Adventure People you traveled with in the past or experience Adventure People for the very first time!
  • Experience the Class IV+ rapids of the Middle Fork of The American River including the Tunnel Chute, which is on every rafting enthusiast’s bucket list.
  • Every evening, gather with Adventure People for a picnic style community dinner.
  • Unwind each night around the campfire roasting marshmallows and sipping your favorite beverage.
  • Whether traveling solo or in a group, you’ll quickly forge new friendships with other like-minded Adventure People!
  • Visit the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park to learn about the California gold discovery in 1848, which happened on the South Fork of the American River in the valley the Nisenan Indians knew as Cullumah (beautiful valley). This event led to the greatest mass movement of people in the Western Hemisphere and was the spark that ignited the spectacular growth of the West during the ensuing decades.
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We kick off the weekend by arriving at our campground anytime after 2 pm and checking in with your trip leader. Located on the South Fork of the American River, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, enjoy beach access perfect for kayaking and swimming. You’ll be immersed in the outdoors while still having simple comforts like a hot shower and flushing toilets. Set up camp and then relax while listening to the sound of the flowing river.

If you arrive early, there are hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails as well as the Marshall Gold Discovery Historic State Park, all within about a five minutes’ drive of the campground.

This evening, we’ll have a welcome dinner and get to know your fellow Adventure People, then we’ll sit around the campfire with your drink of choice.

Included Meals: Dinner


This morning, Adventure People take to the river for an adrenaline-pumping full-day whitewater rafting adventure! We’ll meet our guides at 8:00 am and then we’ll have a short ride in the van down the beautiful Middle Fork canyon to our put-in location at the Oxbox Reservoir. We’ll have a safety talk before setting out on a full-day river trip of Class III-IV+ rapids. We’ll be rafting 18 miles of the American River, which will take approximately 6-7 hours. Lunch will be included on this day somewhere along the river.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Sunday is departure day and the end of our incredible weekend. After breakfast, we’ll pack up camp, share hugs, and say goodbye to our new friends until the next adventure.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Trip Leader
2-nights camping at Camp Lotus w/ hot showers and flush toilets
Meals: 2 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Transportation to/from river put-ins/take-outs
Full-Day whitewater rafting on the Middle Fork of the American River with lunch, experienced guides, and all equipment
New adventurous friends and unforgettable stories!

Transportation to the campground
Beverages and meals not specified
Gratuities for your guides (we recommend $5-10 per person for your rafting guide)
Travel Insurance
Personal Expenses

Our campground for the weekend is Camp Lotus, located along the South Fork of the American River. You will receive a travel guide attached to your booking confirmation with all the information you’ll need to prepare for your epic weekend trip!

5461 Bassi Rd.
Lotus, CA 95651

Check-in: Friday, August 14th 2pm – 10pm
Check-out: Sunday, August 16th at 12pm

RVs and Campers: Camp Lotus has ten irrigated and shady RV sites suitable for RV’s from 24′ to 40′. These are not drive-through sites. There are water and electric hookups at each campsite. To reserve a spot, please book directly with Camp Lotus (530-622-8672) and mention you are with Adventure People. You will still need to register for the event for full access to the Adventure People whitewater rafting weekend.

Traveling By Air:

The closest major airport is the Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and Camp Lotus is located approximately 57 miles and about a one-hour drive from the airport.


It is recommended that you join in the Facebook Event page. There you can meet other Adventure People and make carpool arrangements. Don’t be shy! Invite a traveler coming from your area to share gas, stories, and road trip music jams!

Class IV Rapids are recommended for those who have Advanced Whitewater Experience looking for a thrill. Rapids are unpredictable with large waves, long rapids, narrow passages, and rocky terrain. There is moderate to high flip/swim potential on Class IV rapids. Please read our blog post that explains it in further detail.

What do you bring on a camping and whitewater rafting weekend?

Camping Gear: For a complete list, please visit our Car Camping Checklist.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress
  • Pillow
  • Camp Chair
  • Cookware
  • Water
  • Food
  • Cooler
  • Remember to pack snacks for your adventures! Trail mix, energy bars, however you fuel, pack it so you don’t bonk mid-adventure.

For Whitewater Rafting:

  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts
  • Sun Block
  • River Shoes or Sandals with straps (no flip flops or slip-on water shoes)

During Cold Weather: Fleece, wool socks, polypropylene or wool top and bottom (to be worn under wetsuit and paddle jacket, which will be provided if needed)

Important Note: NO COTTON, synthetic fiber clothing only.

World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive a no-hassle online quote in less than 2 minutes.

Nothing like a good kayaking or rafting adventure — planned or unplanned! When we think of kayaking or rafting, we think of 70’s soft drink commercials, or a young Burt Reynolds paddling faster to the foreboding ambiance of banjo plucking, or more realistically: watching our friends freak out down some rapids on our last trip.

Make sure you’re covered in case of an accident!

Most meals are included on this trip, but should you forget something or need some additional snacks, the Camp Lotus Store has all the basics including drinks, snacks, ice, firewood, and a great beer and wine selection! They also have a deli with espresso drinks, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, freshly baked muffins, and other goodies.


While there’s no guarantee that any activity is one hundred percent safe, river rafting is generally considered to be safe. Statistically, there are fewer fatalities each year for whitewater rafting than recreational swimming or even bicycling. Whitewater rafting is a fun and exciting activity, but all participants must be fully aware of and understand safety precautions before participating in this sport. The companies we work with maintain an outstanding safety record, and your safety is our number one priority both on and off the river. From our world-class certified professional guides to the equipment, helmets, and more, we only work with companies that set the standard for safety in whitewater rafting.

Beginners are welcome on rafting trips with class I, II, and III rapids. Anything over class IV requires previous rafting experience. For more information, please read >> Whitewater Rafting 101: What You Need to Know.

Yes, you must know how to swim in order to attend any of our rafting trips. Even though you’ll be wearing a life jacket at all times, you need to be comfortable being in the water, for your safety as well as the others on your raft. Our guides will always ensure that your personal flotation devices fit properly and are adjusted correctly.

We prefer to keep you in the raft, but should you have the occasional “out-of-boat” experience, the PFD is designed to help you float and 99% of the time, you’ll pop up right next to the raft and will be holding the outside safety line before being pulled in by a fellow paddler or guide. All of these safety procedures will be discussed in the briefing before you set out on the river, so it is important to pay attention to your guide during this time.

Rafters will be an active source of power to move the boat through the rapids and you will need to understand the basic commands from your guide to help maneuver the boat as it moves downstream. With that said, you should be reasonably healthy and must be able to fit in the life vests, but you don’t need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Paddling can sometimes be tiring, but your guide will instruct you on paddling techniques. If you’re in doubt about your fitness level for rafting, check with your doctor before you go.

Many healthy people of all ages, including those in their 70’s and 80’s, enjoy rafting at all levels.

No. If you are pregnant, you will not be permitted on one of our rafting trips.

The guides we work with are highly-trained professionals, with an average of at least 10 years of experience and an impeccable safety record. Each guide is certified in CPR, Advanced First Aid, Advanced Swiftwater Rescue, and extensive on-river training maneuvers. You can feel confident that you are in great hands on your rafting adventure.

You are welcome to bring a waterproof camera that can be fastened to your life jacket, but we encourage you to keep in mind that you will be paddling in rapids — no time for pictures here! There will be a professional photographer to capture all the action and photos will be available for purchase after the trip. While some of the helmets do have GoPro mounts, we advise you to use at your own risk.

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Adventure People reserves the right to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, safety, or other unforeseen incidents. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary.



Our weekend trips require a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of 25% of the total trip cost in order to reserve your spot. You will have the option to pay the deposit or the entire balance at booking. Payment is due in full 60-days prior to the start date. If you book a trip within the 60-day timeframe, payment will be due in full in order to reserve your spot. For trips where we stay in a house share or hotel, you will be paired with a same-sex roommate unless you wish to have your own room, in which case a single supplement fee will be added to your trip cost.


All cancellations must be advised in writing. We calculate your refund on the day we received written notice of cancellation. The applicable cancellation fees shall be determined with reference to the date on which the request to cancel is received by Adventure People. All refunds will be processed within a few days of your cancellation. Cancellation of a tour Product or failure to join a tour Product will result in retention of funds by Adventure People, as follows:

61+ days prior to departure: Full deposit shall be held by Adventure People
60 to 31 days prior to departure: Full deposit and 50% of the total trip price shall be held by Adventure People
30 days prior to departure: Full deposit and 100% of the total trip price shall be held by Adventure People

No exceptions will be granted to our Cancellation Policy.

We reserve the right to cancel trips with inadequate participant attendance, in which case all money paid to Adventure People will be fully refunded. Adventure People CANNOT be held responsible for any personal expenses, such as airline tickets due to changes in itineraries or tour cancellations.

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