Middle Fork American River Flows

When planning your trip, be sure to check the Dreamflows release schedule. This release schedule informs boaters when recreational flows are released, thus ensuring enough water for whitewater paddlers. A new release schedule for Oxbow Reservoir is posted on the 10th of each month.

No matter the time of year, boaters on the Middle Fork of the American should be mentally and physically prepared for self-rescue in the event of a swim.

Water flows are measured in cubic feet per second (CFS), which indicates the amount of water which passes through a single point in the river. The following is a guideline for different water levels:

  • Below 800 CFS: not recommended due to low water
  • 800 – 1600 CFS: normal flows. Perfect for aggressive first timers or experienced whitewater paddlers. An excellent opportunity to experience Class IV whitewater rafting while enjoying the stunning beauty of the Middle Fork Canyon.
  • 1600 – 2200 CFS: medium to high flows. More challenging Class IV whitewater, yet suitable for a wide range of skill levels.
  • Above 2200 CFS: high flows. Class IV whitewater with additional challenges. May occur only a few weeks in spring.

Tunnel Chute rapid remains a Class V rapid.