In the Victorian era, extreme sports were limited to teatime without doilies, writing witty satires about earnestness, and riding a penny-farthing down a mild incline. Today's Groupon would shock such staid sensibilities: for $59, you get a half-day whitewater-rafting trip from California River Adventures (up to a $117 value, including river fees and taxes). The safely adventurous trek explores the South Fork of the American River, nearly three hours from San Francisco.
Groups meet at Camp Lotus for a brief orientation and safety prep before the rafting rally begins. Ideal for all skill sets, CRA's program accommodates passengers age 7 and up. Fourteen-foot self-bailing rafts equipped with first-aid river-rescue kits, and Coast Guard–approved life jackets safely seat eight passengers plus an expert guide. As a team, the boatload of adventurers navigates the water like a squirrel surfing in a washing machine, punching through whitecaps and splashing about wavy highs and lows during the two-hour water trek. Aqueous adventurers will encounter rapids such as the Meat Grinder, Race Horse Bend, and the Trouble Maker, who is on probation after an extended parental grounding. Wetsuits are required prior to June 1 and can be rented for $15 or brought from home.
With more than 16 years of experience, well-trained professional guides freeze off worrywarts with their fearless and reliable leadership. Trips are offered Monday through Friday after Memorial Day and weekend trips run from April 2 through May 22. All participants are required to sign a liability release, express assumption of risk, and indemnity agreement before participating.
Eight Yelpers give California River Adventures an average of five stars:
- The owner is organized, personable/friendly, and has his ducks in a line. Our guide had 30 years of experience-- can you believe that?? He was the BEST guide EVER. – Sarah T., 07/07/10
- The 1/2 day trip was perfect. The weather was sunny and the level 3 rapids were definitely exciting, but not so advanced that I feared for my life... which I appreciated. – Tiffany L., 09/26/10