Day 1 or 1 Day Trip
10:00 am: Meet, greet, and sign in with your head guide.
11:00-11:30 am: Launch your rafts and begin 3 miles of Class II rapids.
12:00-12:30 pm: Picnic lunch on banks of the river.
1:00 pm: Continue down river, enter a narrow canyon with more Class II whitewater rapids.
1:30-2:00 pm: Enter the “Gorge” with lots of Class III rapids!
3:00-3:30 pm: Boat tow to the Salmon Falls Take-Out; bus ride back to camp.
4:00 pm: back at camp you may choose to shower before leaving for home. You should be ready to depart exhilarated and refreshed for your next destination by 3:30-4:00 PM.
Trip Orientation is always very instructional; your head guide takes at least 30 minutes to discuss safety features of the trip and demonstrate paddle techniques. He/she will demonstrate and explain everything you need to know in order to enjoy a safe, as well as fun, experience. You will gain a healthy respect for the river as well as feel secure that you will be okay. You will meet the other rafters on your trip and meet you own guide.
Before lunch we get to float about 3-4 miles on slow current, swim an easy rapid (if you want to), practice our steerage maneuvers, get wet, learn how to paddle as a team, and learn how to laugh, raft down a “water slide”, see gorgeous countryside with thousands of trees and plants on both sides of the river, and lots of birds.
We arrive at our private lunch site on the river, hungry and ready for a great picnic lunch.
After lunch we board our boats and float 2 miles of Class II rapids in beautiful canyon settings. We then enter the “Gorge” where we’ll tackle many fun and challenging class III rapids like Satan’s Cesspool, Hospital Bar and Recovery Room. All the whitewater, the excitement, and your smiles are captured by our kayaking-photographers as they take the best shots for viewing back at camp. After the last rapid, we will get a motorized tow to our take-out at Salmon Falls on Lake Folsom, load the boats onto our trailers, grab a cold water, and board Mariah’s vehicles for a relaxing 30-minute drive back to camp.
Note: Sometimes we have our lunch at the Campground, and launch our boats after lunch. Usually it is in the later part of the season, mid-August, during the middle of the week. The reason is the water is released from the Chili Bar Dam later than normal due to agricultural and electrical needs, and we want to wait until the water-release reaches our campground before we launch our boats.
Day 2 of 2 Day Trip
8:00 am: The breakfast bell rings.
9:00 am: Promptly at 9 AM we board our river vehicles for the 30 minute drive to Chili Bar.
10:00 am: Launch your boats and begin 5 miles of Class II-III rapids.
12:00 pm: Conquer Troublemaker Rapid, the biggest of the river!
12:30-1:00 pm: Enjoy 5 miles of relaxing Class I-II rapids, & beautiful scenery.
1:00-1:30 pm: Arrive by river to the Mariah Campground and enjoy a BBQ lunch, & slide show.
2:30-3:00 pm: Depart for your next destination.
Day two begins at 8:00 am with a delicious breakfast, usually pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, cereal, juice, fresh coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are ready by 7:30 am in the Coffee Corner.
Promptly at 9:00 am we board our vehicles for the 30-minute drive to the Chili Bar Put-in, the top section of the river. Chili Bar is named after the Chileans who travelled up from Chili in 1849 to be a part of the Gold Rush of 1849! You already know your guide, and you are already an accomplished paddler, so we launch into the current. The river starts out with exciting rapids so be prepared for a thrill from the beginning. During the first 5.5 miles we will raft through fun and challenging rapids like Meatgrinder, Race Horse Bend, and the Triple Threats.
At mile 5.5 we enter Troublemaker Rapid, the largest rapid on the South Fork; hold on to your hat!! After this fun rapid we’ll drift and paddle through gorgeous scenery, enjoying the scenic river and calmer rapids. At one point, we float past a replica of Sutter’s Mill, the site where that first gold nugget was discovered in 1848 that started the California Gold Rush of 1849.
Arriving back at the campground we enjoy a hearty barbecue lunch. You will have time to shop for souvenir t-shirts in our walk-in store, say goodbye to your guides and exchange email addresses with the other participants. You will be ready to depart exhilarated and refreshed for your next destination by 2:30-3:00 PM.
We pride ourselves on the quality and variety of our meals. We can accommodate many different dietary requirements, so let us know if you are vegetarian, need gluten free, or have food allergies such as to peanuts and dairy. Breakfasts include pancakes, sausage, build-your-own egg burrito, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cereals. Lunches include build-your-own deli sandwiches; at camp we usually have a barbecue lunch. Peanut butter and jelly are always available. Dinners include barbecued steak and chicken, fresh salad, garlic bread, potatoes and dessert.