From mellow floats with a bit of excitement to white-knuckled fun barreling through chutes and roaring rapids, Tahoe has an assortment of whitewater rafting for everyone from families to thrill-seekers. So, as the snow begins to melt in late spring, it’s time to hop on that inflatable raft and have some good old fashioned outdoor fun.
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Whitewater Thrills In Tahoe
For true whitewater rafting, there’s a few major regions that host rivers with Class II, III, & IV rapids.
The Truckee River and the only outlet from Lake Tahoe is a great option for families or those that want to keep it “chill.” Most of its length has multiple Class II rapids and some in the III range. The journey takes about half a day.
For true adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers, the South Fork of the American River is where it’s at. Starting approximately 8 miles north of Placerville, it is a roaring good time. Depending on the section of the river you pick, you could be dodging boulders, attacking waves, or conquering rapids as big as Class III & IV. The length of each adventure can be anywhere from half a day to a multi-day experience.
Last, but not least is the East Fork of the Carson River. About an hour’s drive from South Lake, expect a river filled with moderate Class III rapids that are a good option for families of all ages to test their mettle on the mighty rivers fed by Lake Tahoe’s snowpack.
And if all of these sound a bit too much in the thrill-seeking department, you can always enjoy a mellow float without any rapids down the Upper Truckee River. This should not be confused with the Truckee River, which is on the north shore of Tahoe. The Upper Truckee River is a totally different body of water located IN South Lake Tahoe itself.
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