Tuesday, October 23, 2007


American River NF-MF Auburn Confluence Run

Whitewater River Guide & Maps - California.

(a.k.a. Confluence Run) The flow on this run is the sum of flows on the NF American River and MF American River.

Recent Flows on American River NF.

Recent Flows on American River MF.

The water level in Lake Folsom will determine how many miles of flatwater paddling are needed to reach take-out.

The flow on NF American River is measured not far upstream from put-in. The flow on MF American River is measured very far upstream at Oxbow Powerhouse, so it will take about 9 hours hours before flow changes at Oxbow Powerhouse will reach the put-in for this run.

River Difficulty vs. Flow Rate.

class . . . . flow (cfs)
II . . . . 300 cfs
III . . . 1000 cfs

Description - American River NF-MF Auburn Confluence Run.

Recently reopened run that passes the site of the failed Auburn Dam project (Placer County / El Dorado County, California, USA). Beautiful canyon with some class II & III whitewater and lots of flatwater.

In springtime put-in on NF American just below Lake Clementine to run the class III section down to The Confluence. In summer put-in on MF American just upstream from The Confluence to add one more interesting rapid to the run.

From the put-in at The Confluence it is 5 miles to Oregon Bar take-out. The Oregon Bar take-out road is visible as a line on the river-right canyon wall. The river divides into two or more channels, so stay in the right channel to avoid going past the takeout. Oregon Bar is a brutal take-out!! There is a pretty steep, very rough trail from river's edge up to the road, and then a long hike up a steep gravel road to the locked gate which is the place closest to the river where cars can drive. Then the drivers get to hike even farther to the place where the cars have to be parked. Its a bit of a fitness test!! The entrance road is gated and locked at 9 PM, so don't be late getting out of there!!

It is 10 miles from The Confluence to take-out at Rattlesnake Bar boat ramp. When the lake is low the boat ramp and parking are quite high up and quite far from the edge of the lake. It is possible to drive down into the canyon on loose dirt tracks a little farther down the lake. Then shuttle vehicles can be parked close to the waters edge.

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.

California Road Conditions (Delays or closures due to weather, construction, etc.)
* California Travel Information - highwayconditions.com.
* 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.

Topographic River Map.

Full-Screen Topographic Map: Auburn Run NF American River.

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 38.93593 W 121.02495, gauge on NF at North Fork Dam (A).
    - alternate put-in below Lake Clementine (winter & spring).
• N 39.0060 W 120.7600, gauge on MF at Oxbow.
• N 38.91388 W 121.03681, North Fork/Middle Fork Confluence - Put-in (B).
• N 38.88191 W 121.06148, Artificial Rapids (III) (C).
• N 38.87540 W 121.05801, Birdsall River Access.
• N 38.86246 W 121.06004, Oregon Bar River Access - alternate take-out (D).
• N 38.81818 W 121.08633, Rattlesnake Bar boat ramp - Take-out (E).
    - notice powerlines overhead near take-out.

Local weather in Auburn, California.

Online River Guides & River Flow Data for Paddle Boating.

American River NF-MF China Bar artificial rapids (III).
American River NFMF Directory.
(Display options - alphabetical 100. See section 1.)

Whitewater Trip Reports.

Middle Fork American River Tubing 3 video - TubeNation.net 18june2009.
Auburn Confluence Run, NF American River class III, 30aug2008.
Auburn Confluence Run, NF American River class II 30aug2008.
Auburn Run, American River NF class III winter2008.
American River Confluence run - classtwokayakers 08june2008.
American River Confluence Run - Rambling Ruminations 02april2008.
Auburn Run, American River NF/MF, California whitewater kayaking class III, winter2008.
American River at Auburn has been restored/enhanced 23oct2007.

River Recreation Links - American River.

American River Recreation & Conservation Directory. Website resources for the American River watershed. (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.
River Guides for California Whitewater.
California River Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.

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As far as running the American River below the NF/MF confluence, the best time is in early spring - February through April. The flow is most likely higher and the paddle out on the lake is less (although still about 3 miles).
On Aug 9 we launched at 1:30 PM and floated in innertubes from the NF/MF American River confluence to China Bar. It took 4 hours with the flow around 900 cfs. We hit about 3-4 fun Class II rapids. We paddled about 70% of time and walked about 1200 yds or so. It was enjoyable scenery and play time. We stopped twice for about 5-10 minutes. It was a bit of work at this low flow.
I think that you probably launched your innertubes ~1.5 hours before the peak flow for the day reached the confluence. Waiting for the peak flow might have made the trip a little easier, but even then its clear that this will be a long hard trip for innertubers at summertime flow rates.
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