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South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)

Sacramento + Davis Metro Area, California

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South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)

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  • Starting off C-G in a calm spot.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Splashing into Barking Dog (Class II).- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • A kayaker surfs in Barking Dog.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Much of this run is very mellow with few rapids.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Scraping the edge of a boulder.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Kayaking through one of the few Class II rapids on the C to G section of the South Fork of the American River.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Avoiding a boulder and the hole behind it.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Passing through a mellow Class I rapid.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
  • Greenwood River Access take-out, South Fork of the American River.- South Fork of the American River: Coloma to Greenwood (C to G)
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Perfect for beginning paddlers.
Cons: 
Slow moving river. No large rapids.
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Region:
Sacramento + Davis Metro Area, CA
Average Gradient: 
18.00 ft/mi (3.41 m/km)
Route Characteristics: Character:
Pool Drop, Meandering, Wooded (Forested), Open (Non-wooded), Park-and-Play
Gauge URL: 
http://www.dreamflows.com/Pages/ChiliBarSchedule.php
Overall difficulty: 
II
II
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park
Suitable for:
Kayaks, Rafts, Commercial Outfitters
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
Greenwood River Access
Total Distance: 
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
Current Local Weather:

Notable Hazards + River Information

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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

The South Fork of the American River is perhaps the most commercially rafted river in the West, and it is also kayaked frequently. Perhaps the least frequently rafted and kayaked section is from Coloma to Greenwood, otherwise known as C to G. This section is 5.5 miles long in between two more intense runs, Chili Bar and The Gorge.

Most of C to G is calm with very few rapids of note. There are several Class II and Class I rapids, making it great for any beginning kayakers or anyone in a personal flotation device. The most notable rapid is Barking Dog (II+, mile 3.1) because it is an awesome surf spot for kayakers. Often times there will even be visitors with surf boards riding the wave.

The flow in C to G is controlled by the Chili Bar Reservoir dam and is thus highly reliable on flow times and days. During spring and early summer appropriate flows are often found every day, though some spring days can bring dangerously high levels. Late summer and fall flows for kayaking and rafting are usually only available on the weekend. From the release point at Chili Bar it takes a couple of hours for the water to reach the Coloma put-in. Be sure to take the time lag for the end of the flow release to avoid running at very low flows.

Take-out is available at the Greenwood Creek River Access and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, making it free to park for the day. Make sure to grab a free river permit here and attach it to your boat before heading to Coloma. ​For the put-in, three options are available: Marshal Gold Discovery SHP, the Highway 49 bridge, and Camp Lotus. Only the bridge does not charge to put in any vessels. but the portage is further.

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