The Middle Fork of the American River is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about an hour east of Sacramento. It originates near Emigrant Pass on the south face of Granite Chief, a 9,010-foot peak near Lake Tahoe. The scenic river then travels 62 miles through a steep and secluded forested canyon before reaching the confluence of the North Fork American River in Auburn.
In the mid-1800’s miners came to the Middle Fork of the American in search of gold, and plenty of remnants of mining history can still be found throughout the river canyon. But today, recreation is the Middle Fork of the American River’s biggest draw. Whitewater enthusiasts flock to the river for its exhilarating Class IV rafting and its well-known Class V Tunnel Chute rapid, which drops rafters 6-feet before descending into a 90-foot long tunnel. Meanwhile, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders also come to the Middle Fork American River for its extensive trail system within the canyon, including the Western States Trail, which boasts annual endurance events like the Western States Endurance Run.
Famous for its rich history and abundant recreational activities, the Middle Fork of the American has attracted visitors, thrill-seekers, and treasure-hunters for more than a century. Come see for yourself why it’s such a beloved California river.