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American River rafting - low water levels

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Orange County
posts: 147
American River rafting - low water levels

With the low snow pack levels this year, will river rafting in August be worth while? Looking at class 2-3 trips. Obviously tour company promoting that water is great.

Coming up from so cal not as aware of river as locals are.


5 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
posts: 188
reviews: 74
1. Re: American River rafting - low water levels

It really depends on the river. The American River flow is dam-controlled and popular runs should be OK. Check out this article: mercurynews.com/travel/ci_25546262/californi… Have fun!

Sacramento, CA
Destination Expert
for Sacramento
posts: 2,816
reviews: 33
2. Re: American River rafting - low water levels

I've been out of town for the last month but the last time I was jogging on the American River Parkway the river was the lowest I've seen it in the 25 years I've lived in Sacramento.

I can't imagine that it will be better in August.

You might check this site:


Concord, California
Destination Expert
for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
posts: 9,986
reviews: 110
3. Re: American River rafting - low water levels

Janey --- Good question and something to think about with people coming to the area for that activity.

The two times I've rafted the American River, from Lotus, were both in August. Those two years were HIGH water years. Lots of snow and decent rapids. Fun.

With what's going on now, it's hard to say at this point --- due to a drought year.

Good advice above. If your trip revolves around river-rafting, you might have to be Googling a lot, as your trip gets closer.

Good luck.

Costa Mesa...
posts: 5
reviews: 2
4. Re: American River rafting - low water levels

Hi Janey, We are going to Coloma to white water raft on the American River over the July 4th holiday. I had the same question you did.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,424
reviews: 22
5. Re: American River rafting - low water levels

As stated above, the American is dam controlled. They release enough water in the daytime to reach water levels that rafters can use. At night, the water is often shut off. Even this year there will be enough water in July and August for rafting. What someone sees down in Sacramento has no relation to the flow at Coloma.

If you still have worries, contact your outfitter for assurances.

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