California Whitewater



Class IV-V River Run

The Hell Hole Dam to Ellicotts Bridge stretch of the North Fork of the American River in California is a popular whitewater run for experienced kayakers and rafters. This segment covers 18 miles and is rated as class IV-V, with some of the most challenging rapids being the Staircase and the infamous Chamberlain Falls.

The ideal streamflow range for this run is between 800-1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs), although it can be run at higher flows with caution. It is not recommended to run this section at flows below 600 cfs, as it can become too rocky and difficult to navigate.

The area is regulated by the Bureau of Land Management and there are specific regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure public safety. These regulations include a permit requirement for commercial outfitters, a ban on alcohol and drugs, and limitations on group size.

Overall, the Hell Hole Dam to Ellicotts Bridge run is a thrilling and challenging whitewater experience that should only be attempted by experienced paddlers with the appropriate equipment and safety gear. It is important to check the current streamflow, weather conditions, and local regulations before embarking on this adventure. Get driving directions.
Last Updated 2023-11-30
River Levels 112 cfs (2.26 ft)
Percent of Normal 78%
Reporting Streamgauge GENERAL C NR MEEKS BAY CA
Elevation 6,243 ft.
Watershed North Fork American

Nearby Camping
Location Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Northshore 15 6,411 ft
Fashoda 30 4,869 ft
Pleasant Dispersed 10 6,413 ft
Robinson Flat 14 6,696 ft
Ahart 12 5,341 ft
Woodchuck 8 6,256 ft
Airport Flat 16 5,383 ft
Camino Cove 32 4,898 ft
Wentworth Springs 8 6,153 ft
Wench Creek 2 4,947 ft
Jones Fork 10 5,052 ft
Hampshire Rocks 30 5,921 ft
Lewis 40 5,280 ft
Ice House 83 5,493 ft
Northwind 9 5,477 ft
West Point 8 4,999 ft
French Meadows 75 5,330 ft
Sunset 139 4,970 ft
Gerle Creek 50 5,272 ft
Strawberry Point 10 5,440 ft
Hell Hole 10 5,167 ft