Chili Bar


Class III-IV- run on the S. Fork American River.  This is a very fun intermediate run that sees a lot of use.  Chili Bar and the Gorge farther downstream could be the most popular river run in America thanks to a healthy commercial outfitter community and highly populated areas close by (Sacramento).  Despite being in California this area still has a nice, remote, rural feel to it.  The water runs all year long thanks to dam controlled releases but you want to catch the release bubbles for the best run.  The water is typically clear and not too cold (especially in the hot summer time heat of CA).  Join the other thousands and thousands that have boated this area and give it a try.  For kayakers this is a good run to get some surfing in and for rafters this is just a good run without a lot of consequences.

Suggested river levels for paddling this section of the American River, South Fork are between a bare minimum of 800cfs and a high of 4,000cfs. River conditions sourced from USGS 11427000, the Nf American R A North Fork Dam Ca Remember only watercraft are permitted at Chili Bar.

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Whitewater Rapids

Obstacles on the river run
Chili Bar Hole
Class III- to III
Meatgrinder (Quarter Mile) Rapid
Class III to III+
Racehorse Bend (Sluice Box) Rapid
Class III- to III+
Maya (Traffic Light) Rapid
Class II+ to III
Rock Garden Rapid
Class II to II+
African Queen Rapid
Class III to IV
First Threat Rapid
Class III to III+
Second Threat Rapid
Class II to II+
Third Threat Rapid
Class II to III
Unnamed Rapid
Class II to II+
Mini Gorge Rapid
Class II to II+
Troublemaker (S-Turn) Rapid
Class III to IV
Old Scary Rapid
Class II

Area Hydrology

Gauge Streamflow Stage
Deer C Nr Cameron Park Ca
USGS 11335655
8 cfs 3.6 ft
Unnamed Trib Ab Gavin Mandry Dr Nr Marysville Ca
USGS 11424548
0 cfs 0.7 ft
Donner C A Donner Lk Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10338500
16 cfs 3.2 ft
Donner C At Hwy 89 Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10338700
27 cfs 2.9 ft
N Yuba R Bl Goodyears Bar Ca
USGS 11413000
179 cfs 2.1 ft
Little Truckee R Bl Div Dam Nr Sierraville Ca
USGS 10341950
3 cfs 1.0 ft
Truckee R Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10338000
70 cfs 1.6 ft
Cosumnes R A Michigan Bar Ca
USGS 11335000
55 cfs 2.8 ft
Deer C Nr Smartville Ca
USGS 11418500
8 cfs 1.4 ft
Sagehen C Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10343500
3 cfs 1.6 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change
Squaw Valley G.C.
SNOTEL 784
4" 1"
Independence Camp
SNOTEL 539
1" 1"
Ward Creek #3
SNOTEL 848
1" 1"
Independence Lake
SNOTEL 541
16" 0"
black springs
SNOTEL BLSC1
0.74" -0.01"
alpine meadows-base
SNOTEL AMBC1
0.07" -0.61"

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Finnon Lake 14 2,427 ft
Rucky A Chucky - Auburn State Rec Area 5 723 ft
Dru Barner 47 3,237 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Generation and Giant Gaps (Tadpole to Colfax-Iowa Hill Road) 199.0cfs 26.8 Mi IV to IV+
Yankee Jim Road to Ponderosa Way (Shirttail) 199.0cfs 5.0 Mi II to III
Chili Bar 199.0cfs 8.0 Mi III to IV
Tunnel Run (Ralston Powerhouse to Greenwood) 199.0cfs 16.5 Mi IV- to IV
Coloma to Greenwood - (C to G) 199.0cfs 5.0 Mi II to III-
Greenwood to Mammoth Bar 199.0cfs 7.0 Mi II to II+