California is in one of the worst droughts in history. Not a good time to be a visiting kayaker. After visiting Yosemite for a couple of days rock climbing, we were missing time on the river and the SF of the American around Coloma, CA is one of our favorite stops. This river has something for any family looking to paddle. The Chili Bar run is the upper section, and is a great play-boat run: fun class III rapids with some great surf waves mixed in. At the end is “Trouble Maker” a rapid featuring a big hole to boof over. This is the spot every popular river has where the raft companies have a photographer posted to capture the carnage and sell photographs to wide eyed rafting clients. The Chili Bar section ends at Camp Lotus, where I met Kathy and Abby to continue on down to the Greenwood take out. This is a wonderful class II+ section and has a fun surf wave called “Barking Dog”. Most of this section is boulder garden style and really great as a family paddle.
The SF of the American River is dam controlled and provides much of the electrical power for Sacramento. The river runs most weekends and during the most of the week during the summer. See Dreamflows for current release schedule. Here is a link to more info on the SF of the American River on American Whitewater, Chili Bar & Coloma to Greenwood Creek.