BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
My 16-year-old son would love to go to a sleep away camp that focuses on whitewater rafting.
Can't seem to find one online. Anyone know of such an animal?
Kid who wants to get wet
Please look into ARTA (http://www.arta.org/). They are a nonprofit rafting company
that has week-long junior training trips in CA and UT for teens. My son did the UT
trip 4 years ago when he was 15. He absolutely loved it. He went rafting with the
company the following year in Idaho and then took the real guide training course
with them last year when he was 18. He may be guiding this summer. As a parent, I
couldn't be more comfortable with the company.Tell them I recommended them.
YMCA Camp Jones Gulch has a teen adventure/travel camp that may be just what you're
looking for! I just found out about this camp yesterday and signed my 14 year old
adventure seeking boy up for 2 weeks. Camp is based near Big Sur and transportation
to and from the Bay Area is $40 if you need it.
Here's the White Water rafting camp description:
''White Water Rafting Adventure (Session 3; $695.00 July 6-11) Entering grades
7-12 . In a high adrenaline adventure, thrill seeking teens rally inflatable rafts
down the Middle Fork of the American River. Experience impressive rapids down miles
of crystal clear water. Between rafting we will explore areas around James
Marshall Park, go mountain biking, and enjoy access to a beautiful swimming pool
and natural river swimming hole. Swimming proficiency is recommended but not
Each week has a different theme. They all look great and I see good reviews online.
Best of all it's pretty cheap for sleepaway camp and everything is included.
We middle-aging parents and our teenager would like to spend a
couple of days in August within a half-day's drive of the East
Bay where we could do a couple of half-day or three-quarter-day
semi-challenging guided rafting trips, plus maybe some trail
riding or other kind of fun, active land activity. Would like
specific recommendations for locations, guide companies, etc. --
also places to stay nearby and restaurants. Thanks!
Friends of ours, Mel and Scott, own and run River and Rock
Adventures (http://www.riverandrockadventures.com/) near Coloma
on the South Fork of the American River. They offer a number of
rafting options from 1/2 day trips to 2 day trips geared
towards families (and have 2 small boys of their own). We went
rafting with them two summers ago and had a great time. They
have camping available but can probably recommend nearby motels
if you would prefer that. Check out their website for more
information. Happy rafting!
I have done a bunch of rafting trips up on the American, near
Lotus, CA. The Middle Fork is the best for beginners. I have
also done the North Fork twice which is for more advanced
rafters. There are about 30 companies up there. I would
recommend Whitewater Voyages owned by Bill McGinnis. Very
experienced. Very nice job. www.whitewatervoyages.com, I think.
I feel compelled to correct an earlier statement: the Middle
Fork is NOT best for beginners, the South Fork IS. The Middle
Fork is rated Class IV, out of V, while the South Fork is a
Class III. In addition, the Middle Fork has a rapid that is so
difficult that all rafters must walk around the rapid (called
a ''portage''). Class III is fun, but not dangerous, and is
plenty exciting and great for kids. The North Fork, also
mentioned by a previous poster, is rated Class V, and should
definitely NOT be a choice for kids, or those without some
previous rafting experience. Do have fun and enjoy, there is
nothing quite like rafting to make your spirits soar!!!
River Guide Mommy
Wondering if anyone in the digest community has positive
experiences to recommend regarding river rafting with kids in
the 8 - 10 year old range. Would especially appreciate the
name of a reliable, experienced river rafting company with
trips within reasonably close driving range to the Bay Area
(such as the American River) and one that has experience with
trips for kids would, of course, be best. Thanks so much.
Future River Rafters
My wife and I took our nearly 8-year-old daughter on a half-day
rafting trip on the American River this summer. The company was
Gold Rush River Rafting. We got drenched; we had a blast. The
guides let her ''paddle'' for part of the trip. Remember to wear a
bathing suit, T-shirt and tight-fitting hat, and bring a change
Turtle River Rafting Company is great with small children (age 4 and up). http:/
/www.turtleriver.com/ My family started with them when my children were little
and then graduated to ARTA.
I'm seeking tips on river-rafting tour companies in the Sierra.
We're hoping for a one-day trip on a fairly easy river (our
daughter is 7, swims well and loves water), preferably with a
stop for swimming. The American seems like a good candidate, but
we're open to other rivers.
Hooray for you! I can't wait to introduce my children to
rafting - aged 2.5 and 8 mos, so I have a bit to wait :-) It is
a wonderful activity to share with your family.
The South Fork of the American is the standard, accessible river
commonly run around here. There are several outfits that service
the S. Fork American, all are pretty reputable, and there really
isn't that much to distinguish them, except for the ''non-
traditional'' outfits. Examples: Outdoors Unlimited at UCSF and
Friends of the River both run trips to the American, but are not
traditional rafting companies. With OU, your money goes to
support other outdoor activities at UCSF, and at FOR, your money
goes to protecting rivers. Both great outfits. (conflict of
interest disclaimer: I learned to guide at OU, and used to guide
for them regularly, until my little ones arrived on the scene).
There are also other rivers to try: No. Fork American: more
difficult, but I believe there is a shorter run that is pretty
easy; Trinity River, down south; East Fork of the Carson, East
side Sierra; Klamath River, up north; etc. Most of these runs
are either much farther away, or have much shorter seasons. So,
for a first time, your best advice is the American.
Hope you have a great trip! Feel free to contact me if you have
any more questions.
Sign me: can't wait to get back on the river!
I recommend you contact Turtle River Rafting company for a
family rafting trip. They are a great, very family oriented
company. 1-800-726-3223. They may have one day trips.
Regarding the American River. Most people go down the
South Fork of the American River, which is a class III river. It
may be too festive for a 7 year old and scare her. There is a
class II run on the South Fork American. Ask them about
I've been river-rafting for twenty-five years and have rafted the
American River probably close to a hundred times
(including working as guide for a commercial outfitter). The
South Fork of the American is a good candidate for you to
consider. There are two sections -- commonly called the
Upper and Lower (or Gorge) section. The minimum age for
most of the commercial outfitters is 8...but if your daughter is
a good swimmer and comfortable with the water, she
should do fine. I would recommend you do the Lower
(Gorge) section. The first couple of hours is very calm
water, giving you (and everyone else on the raft) time to get
used to paddling. On the Upper section, the more exciting
Class III whitewater comes fairly soon after putting in.
Other options for Northern California river trips that are
do-able with a seven year old include Cache Creek and
sections of the Klamath. But there are far fewer commercial
outfitters offering trips on those rivers.
The company I used to work for (on weekends) is a great
company. It's one of the largest (in California), they have an
excellent safety record, and do a good job. They're called All
Outdoors and they can be reached at 925-932-8993.
Have a great time! We took our (then) five-year old on her
first trip last summer on the Rogue River up in Oregon and
she loved it.
this page was last updated: Jun 7, 2014
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network