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Frequently Asked Questions

No guide is provided. We rent you the raft, paddles and life vests and we’re waiting for you at the end to collect your equipment.

Be sure that everyone watches the orientation video before you arrive

It’s important to know that no rivers are safe. The equipment and instruction we provide for our 6-mile beginner float helps to mitigate those inherent risks associated with rafting. Always pay attention and wear your life jacket! If you are wearing your life jacket, the most dangerous place will likely be the shore (slippery rocks, poison oak/ivy and wild animals that should be avoided).
Water levels fluctuate – but in most areas the river is 10 to 30 feet deep.

Water levels fluctuate daily based on water releases, but in most cases the river is slow and very relaxing. The water picks up speed through a few riffles and through the class ll San Juan Rapid.

We require children to be at least 40 lbs. and 5 years old. You must be at least 12 years old for Kayak, Tube and Paddlebaord rentals. 

We open as early as water flows and weather permit. Typically, we are open by mid-April.

We stay open if weather and water flows permit. Typically, we are open until mid-October.

We open at 9am for you to start your trip. Equipment is due 6 miles downstream by 6pm – no later.  Typically, our 6-mile float takes 3-4 hours but many guests enjoy stopping to swim and picnic along the way so float times may vary.

We offer 4 sizes of rafts, single and two person kayaks, inner tubes, and paddle boards.

Yes we offer tubes from our 11257 South Bridge St Location. Minimum age for tubing is 12. 

We open 7 days a week at 9am from April through October, weather and water flows permitting.

If you don’t have a reservation, call before you come. Always try to arrive before noon. Our cutoff for rentals is based on water flows, so cutoff times vary. We typically never allow rafts to launch past 2pm regardless of water flows. To guarantee a trip we highly recommend a reservation, especially on weekends and holidays.

We allow dogs on our rafts at your own discretion. We’ve never had any incidents caused by animals on our rafts. Please consider your dog’s size and temperament. The rafts can easily be punctured by teeth or claws, so we only recommend bringing small and docile dogs. 

IMPORTANT: pets are not allowed on our shuttle buses per state law.

Shuttle times vary and are subject to change without notice. On weekdays we may only send buses once per hour starting at 1pm. Please verify shuttle times before you go rafting.

Many factors contribute to float time such as water flows, your ability to stay in the current and the amount of paddling you do. Some guests have accomplished our 6-mile float in 2 hours and some of our guests choose to be on the water for a full 9 hours. On average, float time is 3-4 hours.

We offer a class l section of river with one class ll rapid. The San Juan Rapids are approximately 2 miles from the start of your trip. Beginners typically enjoy the thrill of the rapid – it’s also possible to stay left to avoid the rapid. There are several other rapids along the way so always pay attention to what’s ahead while floating.

Reservations are strongly recommended for weekends and holidays. We pride ourselves on never running out of rafts, but options for certain sizes of equipment can often become limited.

We will be open if it is at least 70˚ with no rain, lightning or heavy winds in the forecast. We prefer 85˚+ for rafting.

The water is typically between 55 and 65 degrees in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. 

Trip insurance is available for a full refund. We require a 25% down payment for reservations at our Sunrise location. You have to pay for 100% of your trip at our Sailor Bar location. If you choose not to purchase Trip Insurance but call at least 48 hours in advance, we may allow you to reschedule your trip.

Alcohol is allowed on the river except for holiday weekends but is not permitted on most beaches. No alcohol is allowed on the Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day weekends. Sacramento County also maintains the right to ban alcohol for large social media events such as “River Gone Wild” (no affiliation) – however, this has not happened in several years. No glass is allowed on our rafts or in the river.

We recommend lots of water, sun protection – and water shoes. Assume anything you bring will likely get wet. Important belongings such as keys and cell phones should be kept in a dry bag which is intended to keep your belongings dry (we sell dry bags in our River Mart). Leave all unnecessary valuables at home. Ice chests are also sold in our River Mart for all your favorite food and drinks.  No glass is allowed on our rafts or in the river.

The American River is considered one of the cleanest in the nation, however, we do not recommend swimming in stagnant areas where ducks and other animals may congregate.  Please visit for weekly water testing results along the Lower American River. 

We recommend leaving your valuables at home. If you do lose something we do have a lost and found. We also refer guests to a group on Facebook called, “American River Lost and Found.”

We believe that rafting is the best way to connect kids ages 5 and above with nature and recreation.

Our gift certificates and cards maintain their face value; however, our prices are subject to change.

Sunrise location – starts at 1257 South Bridge Street, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670. Our rafting trips start at the Lower Sunrise Access, which is less than a 10-minute walk from our parking lot.

Sailor Bar location – starts at 4253 Illinois Ave. Fair Oaks, CA 95628.


Sunrise location – he trip ends at River Bend Park (Google River Bend Park, Rancho Cordova). Rod Beaudry Drive, off Folsom Blvd., is the street that takes you into the park. However, this end point is subject to change without notice.

Sailor Bar location – ends at Ancil Hoffman Park

We do not offer camping. The closest camping site can be found at Folsom Lake.

We offer 10% off your equipment when you rent 5 rafts or more on a single contract.  We offer a 10% discount for Military and Frontline workers (show ID on location for a 10% refund) Occasionally, we also offer discounts before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive these special offers!

At the end of your trip, River Bend Park offers BBQs in the park, however, they are all ‘first come first serve’. Our American River Raft Rentals location does not allow you to BBQ without our expressed written consent.

No, once you get to the end point and check in your equipment your trip is over.

Swimming is allowed at your own discretion. Always wear your life jacket. Swimming is not recommended at the El Manto Clay Banks as currents there are deceptively dangerous, or the San Juan Rapids. It is also dangerous to swim or to try to stand in shallow areas where the current is strong.

If you can’t swim, make sure you’re wearing a life jacket any time you’re within 10 feet of the water. We also discourage swimming, and recommend our larger rafts, since they are more stable against the waves and bumps.

The bus ride is typically 20-30 minutes one way. Please remember that shuttle bus lines may be long and are longest late in the afternoon on weekends. On weekdays shuttle buses will likely only come once per hour, so please plan accordingly.

No, our shuttle bus is $10 per person and some people choose to set up their own shuttle.  If you choose to leave a car at River Bend Park to shuttle yourself, make sure you plan ahead so that you can still begin your trip during your allotted one-hour time slot. Taxis and Uber’s may also be available at the end. To save money some people choose to only shuttle back their drivers. In this scenario the group waits at the park while the drivers ride back on our buses and then double back to collect their group.

Please consult your doctor before booking your trip

Additional Questions? Submit them here!

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