Wednesday, July 16, 2008


American River NF/MF China Bar Artificial Rapids.

Kayak Freestyle Playboating & Whitewater River Guide & Maps - California.

Recent River Flow Data.

The flow on this run is the sum of flows on the NF American River and MF American River.

The flow on NF American is measured not far upstream from put-in. The flow on MF American is measured far upstream at Oxbow Powerhouse. Changes in the flow at Oxbow will reach the Artificial Rapids approximately 8 hours later.

Whitewater Rating vs. Flow Rate.

class . . . playboating flows (cfs)
III . . . . . . ???

River Description.

Artificial rapids were constructed at the site of the failed Auburn Dam project. (Placer County / El Dorado County, California, USA). Enter the China Bar Unit of Auburn State Recreation Area at Maidu Drive Entrance Station (only open on weekends 8AM to 9 PM from May to September). Drive to Birdsall River Access to unload boats, then drive back 1/2 mile to park cars at Oregon Hill Day Use Parking Lot. From Birdsall Access paddle across to the South side of the river and then hike a few hundred yards upstream to the portage trail that runs parallel to the artificial rapids.

Please contact me or add a comment on the blog if you have any information about the range of river flows that are interesting for playboating at the China Bar artificial rapids. The pump station diverts 300 cfs from the river at the upstream end of the artificial rapids. Summertime releases from Oxbow Dam on the MF American won't reach China Bar until early evening. That doesn't leave much boating time before the entrance gate is closed for the night.

Considering the parking access and flow issues this area may not be useful as a park & play spot for kayakers in the summertime. The river may have higher all-day flows throughout May that could be interesting for park & play boaters, but unfortunately the Maidu Drive Entrance Station is entirely closed during the early Spring boating months of March & April. Thus it is unlikely that this will be very useful as a park & surf playboating spot until more favorable parking places and access times are negotiated.

Driving Directions, Distance, Estimated Time & Road Conditions.

Mapquest provides directions, distance & time from your house to the river.
• From Davis, CA to Auburn, CA - driving time 47 minutes.

Road Conditions - California (Delays or closures due to weather, construction, etc.)
California Travel Information -
Road Conditions - California Dept Transportation.

Topographic River Map, Road Map & Local Business Search.

Topographic map user instructions.
• Full screen topo map and coordinates of additional landmarks - see below.

Full-Screen Topographic Map - American River China Bar Artificial Rapids.
Markers on the topo map show locations of some landmarks listed below (A & B).
Point or DoubleClick on the markers to see their names.

More River Landmarks - Geographic Coordinates.
Copy/paste the coordinates below into the search box at
Google Maps or into the Find box at Acme Mapper.
• N 38.9361 W 121.0228, gauge on NF at North Fork Dam.
• N 39.0060 W 120.7600, gauge on MF at Oxbow.
• N 38.87540 W 121.06513, Maidu Drive Entrance Station (A).
• N 38.86838 W 121.06110, Oregon Hill Day Use Parking Lot (B).
• N 38.87513 W 121.05809, Birdsall River Access (C).
• N 38.88191 W 121.06148, Artificial Rapids (III) (D).
• N 38.86243 W 121.06041, Oregon Bar River Access (E).

Local weather in Auburn, CA.

Online River Guides & River Flow Data for Paddle Boating.

American River NFMF Recreation & Conservation Directory.
(Display options - alphabetical 100. See section 1.)

Printed Guidebooks & Maps - American River.

American River NF-MF Auburn Run (III).)(a.k.a. Confluence Run)
California River Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
• China Bar brochure, Auburn State Recreation Area - call 530-885-4527 and they will send a printed copy to you via snail-mail. Ask them when they will have a pdf version of the brochure on their website.

Kayak Surfing & Playboating Trip Reports NEEDED !!

• I'm happy to post or link to well-written, whitewater boating trip reports from guest authors, especially if boating pictures are included. Please contact me to submit your trip report.

Whitewater River Recreation Links.

American River NFMF Recreation Directory. (Display options - alphabetical 100. Section 1=whitewater, 2=rafting, 3=conservation, 4=fishing, 5=camping-hiking, 6=local-info)

More about:
Using the white water river paddleboating guides - BRT Kayaking.
• Rivers & creeks nearby: Bear River (Nevada/Placer County), American River NF/MF, American River SF, Sacramento River Valley Region.
Whitewater River Guides for California & western USA.

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The artificial rapids in my opinion were not designed well for kayakers. The drops/waves are too close together and the eddies are too small.
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