Agency and School Adventures

Join ETC to raft the South Fork of the American River and experience excitement, challenge, and a connection to nature while exploring a beautiful whitewater river. Every ETC river trip is a memorable adventure, perfect for both novice paddlers looking to experience the river for the first time or seasoned paddlers who love the thrill of whitewater.

You’ll also learn about the rich and diverse history of the surrounding lands and its people, explore the riparian river environment, and develop a new understanding of the local watershed that sustains us all!

Trip Overview

Arrive at our River Camp:
Our trip will begin at ETC’s River Camp in Lotus, CA at 10:00 AM. We’ll start with an opening circle, giving the guides an opportunity to meet the group and orient everyone to the day’s adventure.

Time for Gear, Safety and Paddling Instruction:
Next we’ll prepare for our trip, including instructions on safety, paddling and an introduction to whitewater gear. Before heading out, we’ll accommodate peoples’ special needs, and then get on the water for a day of whitewater rafting!

Begin Your Adventure:
Our day of rafting will include approximately 12 miles on the Lower Gorge Section of the South Fork of the American River. This stretch starts with mellower Class II whitewater, and then builds to exciting Class III whitewater in the afternoon for fun waves and a wilder ride! Depending on the timing of your trip, the special needs of the group, and water flow, we’ll either eat lunch at ETC’s River Camp or at a scenic riverside location.

Enjoy Evening Festivities:
Our day of rafting will conclude around 5:00 PM, when we’ll either end our trip at the River Camp with a closing circle, or, if your group signed up for a second day, we’ll work together to create a delicious communal dinner, followed by fun and adventurous games and a night of camping.

Extend the Fun (Day Two):
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll drive approximately 30 minutes to the put-in for the Chili Bar Section of the South Fork American River. Following a paddle and safety refresher, we’ll get on the river! This stretch starts with exciting Class III rapids like Racehorse Bend and First Threat, followed by a break for lunch at a riverside location. After lunch, we’ll finish the day with calmer whitewater as we raft to ETC’s River Camp, getting off the water around 3:00 PM. We’ll then either end the trip with a closing circle, or share one more night of delicious dining, fun group activities and camping.


Trip Details

Trip Cost:
Please contact the Whitewater Rafting Program Manager at 415-474-7662 ext. 15. or to discuss pricing for your school or agency.

At ETC, we believe that everyone, regardless of financial limitations, should be able to experience the beauty of nature and the challenge of outdoor adventure. We have a limited scholarship budget should a group not be able to afford the above prices. To apply for a scholarship, please complete a Scholarship Application.

Riverside Camping:
ETC has a stunning riverside camp on the South Fork of the American River that includes accessible campsites, an indoor/outdoor kitchen, and a beautiful river house. A day of rafting can only be made better when followed by camping under the stars while listening to the flow of the river. We can accommodate groups who wish to camp the night before and/or after rafting to round out the trip experience. Click Here to learn more about the ETC River Camp.

ETC is committed to making outdoor adventures accessible to people with special needs, and our guides are experienced in making adaptations for a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities. We use both paddle rafts and oar rafts to make a variety of accommodations. If you have questions about accessibility, please contact the River Program Manager.


Scheduling and Other Resources

We run rafting trips on the South Fork of the American River regularly from the beginning of May through the end of September. Please contact the River Program Manager at or 415-474-7662 ext. 15 to discuss potential trip dates.

Resources for Groups:
Complete Trip Packet
Driving Directions
Equipment List
Health & Liability Release
Overview of the ETC River Camp
Trip Pricing