South Fork of the American River

Until today, it had been quite a while since I made the journey down to Coloma to paddle the South Fork of the American. When I first moved to Lake Tahoe almost 10 years ago I used to go there all the time.

But gas prices kept rising and my motivation kept waning. Plus, the addition of the Reno Whitewater Park kept me fairly satisfied as long as it was above 800 cfs.

But this paddling season has been short lived due to poor precipitation this past winter. Many of us boaters are left feeling a little unsatisfied, and the only river that has any decent amount of water in it within a 2 hour drive of Reno is the South Fork.

The Gorge section is good fun, but if you are serious about playboating then the Chili Bar section is the way to go. The wave at Maya is a blast, and what is even better is the play hole at First Threat.

 First Threat has changed for the better. It used to be a bit disorganized and a little thrashy, but now it is much cleaner and offers a lot of opportunity for some powerful moves and tricks.

The other notable rapid that offers some fun is Troublemaker. If you want to make the rapid a lot more interesting try running the far left side. Be advised that if you do, you will definitely want to throw a strong boof stroke at the horizon line.

It was good to be back down there on the South Fork even if it was so hot and dry that it burst into flames.

2 thoughts on “South Fork of the American River”

  1. Next time you come down my way you shouldn’t miss Barking Dog Rapid, a really great playspot in the middle of a class II run.

    C to G Run on SF American

    You can park at Camp Lotus, surf the Dog just downstream, then walk back upstream on river-left to get back to your vehicle.

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