March 26, 2019
This winter, the rain and snow have been unrelenting here in California, but spring is in sight! With the Sierra snowpack sitting well above average (currently, 156% of normal!), we are anticipating a lengthy and exciting rafting season this year.
For thrill-seekers, the high water conditions of May through mid-June will offer extra excitement. The summer months will be a prime time for family-friendly rafting, with the Merced River and Kings River projected to run until mid-August and late-August, respectively.
The Merced River rafting season is projected to last through mid-to-late-August. The last 14 days of the season will be our late-season family 1/2 day trips (please see our Merced River 1/2 day trips page for more information).
The Kings River rafting season is projected to last through late August.
The Tuolumne River, being dam controlled, will have good flows through September 7.
The American River, also dam controlled, will have good flows into mid-September. No water on Wednesdays.
Note: The Tuolumne and American rivers are dam controlled rivers, hence the long seasons. The Kings and Merced are natural snow-melt rivers without upstream dams, and depend totally on snow-pack depth from the previous winter for length of season predictions.
A word about Wetsuits and Water Levels:
Depending on the previous winter snowpack, river levels can vary from very high to very low to everything in between. Generally, our rafting season starts in early April, and ends in late September. Our dam-controlled rivers (Tuolumne and American) have longer seasons, and our natural flowing rivers (Kings and Merced) have shorter seasons. On a normal snowpack year, the Tuolumne and American can have raftable flows into early October, while the Kings can be raftable into early August, and the Merced into early to mid July. In high water years, the Kings and Merced can have raftable flows into September, and August, respectively.
Wetsuits are required during April, May, and into early June. Most outfitters in California charge you to rent wetsuits. We do not! We provide you with a full length “Farmer Bill” style wetsuit and paddle jacket at no extra cost. We want you to be warm, safe, comfortable, and to be able to enjoy the higher water flows (bigger waves) and spring wildflowers that spring trips can provide. Wetsuits are not required during the summer months.
Please feel free to call one of our adventure consultants at 1-800-431-3636. We would be happy to advise you and your group of the best time to raft and the best river for your particular needs.