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
American R A Fair Oaks Ca
USGS 11446500
2,030 cfs 7.7 ft
Bear R Nr Wheatland Ca
USGS 11424000
26 cfs 0.0 ft
Deer C Nr Cameron Park Ca
USGS 11335655
8 cfs 3.6 ft
Pilot C Ab Stumpy Meadows Res Ca
USGS 11431800
3 cfs 4.1 ft
Sagehen C Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10343500
10 cfs 1.9 ft
Hutchinson C Bl Doolittle Dr Nr Marysville Ca
USGS 11424550
5 cfs 0.0 ft
Donner C A Donner Lk Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10338500
3 cfs 2.9 ft
Cosumnes R A Michigan Bar Ca
USGS 11335000
237 cfs 3.6 ft
Unnamed Trib Bl Gavin Mandry Dr Nr Marysville Ca
USGS 11424546
8 cfs 0.0 ft
Donner C At Hwy 89 Nr Truckee Ca
USGS 10338700
48 cfs 3.2 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change
black springs
46.1" -0.82"
Independence Lake
59" -1"
alpine meadows-base
50.61" -1.69"
Ward Creek #3
43" -3"
Css Lab
34" -2"
Squaw Valley G.C.
40" -2"
blue canyon alert
0.03" -2.8"
Independence Camp
12" -3"
soda springs 1.5 ssw, ca
29.26" -1.72"
162.2" 0"
Independence Creek
3" -3"

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Rucky A Chucky - Auburn State Rec Area 5 723 ft
Dru Barner 47 3,237 ft
Finnon Lake 14 2,427 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Coloma to Greenwood - (C to G) 718.0cfs 5.0 Mi II to III-
Greenwood to Mammoth Bar 718.0cfs 7.0 Mi II to II+
Generation and Giant Gaps (Tadpole to Colfax-Iowa Hill Road) 718.0cfs 26.8 Mi IV to IV+
Yankee Jim Road to Ponderosa Way (Shirttail) 718.0cfs 5.0 Mi II to III
Tunnel Run (Ralston Powerhouse to Greenwood) 718.0cfs 16.5 Mi IV- to IV
Chili Bar 718.0cfs 8.0 Mi III to IV