American River Whitewater Rafting River Flows

To ensure you can go paddling on a particular day, be sure to check the Dreamflows chart (below) for recreational flows, which ensure enough water for whitewater paddlers. These flows are measured in cubic feet per second (cfs), which indicates the amount of water which passes through a single point in the river. In general, the South Fork of the American River is runnable above 800 cfs. The river becomes extremely difficult above 5,000 cfs, and it is considered to have Class IV rapids above 6,000 cfs. As the water levels increase, boaters should be more experienced and should use extreme caution.

To plan your trip, look at the Chili Bar Release Schedule, which is published by Dreamflows. The schedule is generally updated around the 10th of each month.

Please note that this schedule is not guaranteed, and it can change for many reasons. Due to the various factors which influence dam releases, Dreamflows is the most accurate place to check to ensure your trip will benefit from recreational flows.