Mother Lode Field Office

North Fork American River

View of Giant Gap on the North Fork of the American River View of the North Fork of the American River

General Information

The famous Giant Gap run of the even more famous North Fork American River is one of the most challenging runs in Northern California. Cliffs tower 2,000 feet above clear green streams smashing a path through rapids choked with boulders. Heaps of mine tailings and an old cabin ruin border the course of this roller coaster ride through the historic Mother Lode.

When to go: Spring to early summer (Depending on snowpack)

Getting there: Take Alta exit off I-80 East, thirty mile northeast of Auburn, then turn south on Casa Loma Road to the trailhead. Put-in is a two (2) mile walk form the trailhead. To take-out , take the Canyon Way exit off I-80 at Colfax to Colfax-Iowa Hill Road

Put-in: Euchre Bar.

Take-out: Iowa Hill, Colfax Bridge

  River Class: IV-V


Note: rafting the river at levels above 2,000 CFS is NOT recommended.