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The Best in Family Vacations &
Family Adventures
Sierra Nevada Family
Adventure Camp, California

Family Adventures & Family Vacations - Sierra Nevada Family Adventure Camp, CA

Four Days, Class III

Departure Dates
June 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10, 17

$737 adult / $701 youth <br>

Additional Costs: $24 per person federal, state and local access fees


Why the Sierra Nevada Family Adventure?
Join O.A.R.S. for our classic 4-day rafting and multi-sport adventure in the Gold Country of scenic California. Your family will delight in the miles of thrilling whitewater, paddling below alpine peaks and panning for gold along the sleepy banks of the river. The end of each night you can relax while your guides prepare delicious meals and marvelous desserts. One of your guides will act as the “Fun Director” with exciting games to keep the kids (and the parents) entertained.

Family Adventures

Every trip is customized: Water flow to the South Fork is a result of periodic releases from hydroelectric facilities located upstream. These water releases are not controlled by El Dorado County or commercial rafting companies operating under permits from the County of El Dorado. It is vital that our passengers understand that the water flow on the American River is directly related to the demand for hydropower. The guides are aware of the water release schedule and will adjust the trip logistics to maximize the whitewater excitement. Bottom Line: Flexibility is the key to a great run.

•  Something for everyone! Increasingly popular with our repeat guests, our multi-sport adventures are a great way to explore; combining hiking and rafting with other exciting activities that take advantage of the best this region has to offer. Activities on the Sierra Nevada Family Adventure Camp include: rafting, flat water kayaking, inflatable kayaking, hiking, gold panning, a tour of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park and plenty of time for you to relax on your own.

Family AdventuresSample Itinerary
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and always flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like.



  • Day 1 - Lake Kayaking: At 8:00 AM we will meet at River's Bend Resort, which is located just next to the O.A.R.S. River Store. Walk past the photo board and follow the trail up River's Bend from the parking lot.
  • Once all guests have arrived, we depart for our day of lake kayaking. This morning we move from foothills to mountains via a 1.5-hour shuttle to Silver Lake in the high country of Sierra. After your guides present a demonstration of kayaking techniques and safety procedures, we'll set off on our way. We'll start off on the alpine waters of Silver Lake, a deep blue jewel nestled in a wilderness where surrounding forests are home to deer, eagles, elk and bear, and the snowy peaks of the majestic Sierra seem to almost reach the clouds above you. Spend the day kayaking this pristine mountain lake – you'll find that there could never be enough time to explore this place. If you're a beginning kayaker, the tranquil waters of Silver Lake are a great place to learn– in fact, most of our guests have never paddled before.

  • Once we reach the camp sight after a full day of paddling, your guides will show you around camp. They will then provide you with any equipment you have rented and then assist you with your tents. You then can choose between heading for a swim, playing volleyball just relaxing while the guides prepare dinner and hors d'oeuvres. Be sure to keep room for dessert!

  • Day 2 - Rafting/ Gorge run: We wake you in the morning with fresh tea and coffee and a full breakfast. After a rendezvous at the O.A.R.S. store and a short shuttle to the launch site, our boats and the crew are ready for us. We will have a safety talk before we begin our adventure. Ease yourself into the II rapids before stopping for lunch.
  • Negotiating the river as it pushes through the granite walls of the Gorge, rock gardens, rolling waves, and exciting drops keep us occupied as we experience our first rapids like Satan's Cesspool, Fowlers Rock, and Hospital Bar.

  • Once we reach calmer water at Salmon Falls Bridge, our day draws near to and end. Just a little past where we take-out, there's a steep but short hill that starts at the edge of the river and ends at the top where our shuttles are waiting for us. Our guides appreciate any help offered with the gear,, however it is not encouraged, your safety comes first. After you enjoy a cold juice or soda from the cooler, we'll return to River's Bend by approximately 5:00 PM for yet another great meal and the opportunity to rest up for the following day's activities. After a delicious desert, there may be an opportunity to take in a slide show of our day's adventure.

  • Day 3 - Rafting/Chili Bar run: Rise to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee or tea and another full breakfast. We then shuttle you to Chili Bar for another day of rapids. Before we take on the river we'll review our paddling skills and then quickly move on to Meatgrinder and then on to Racehorse bend, Triple Threat and Trouble Maker.

  • Our morning of paddling works up a healthy appetite, and lunchtime is as welcome break. Today, we take lunch in Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, this is where American River showed explorers the first of its hidden gold in 1848. Enjoy the shade of an oak tree with a deli filled high with chesses, fresh meats, and veggies, accompanied by cookies, fresh fruit, cold water, lemonade, and soda. After fueling up and enjoying the beach, as well as some interesting information on our historic lunch spot, we're ready to continue with our river journey.

  • Back at our campsite at River's Bend, our guests will enjoy pleasing hors d'oeuvres and a cold drink – food always tastes a little better after a long day on the river! Enjoy a swim or a shower, or sit back with that novel you've been wanting to finish as the guides prepare your evening meal, to be served at about 7:00. You'll soon see that our guides have more talents than their whitewater skills – their appetizing barbecued chicken and steak, Mediterranean pasta or lasagna are also a big hit. Following another tempting dessert, we can gather together for stories conversation, and laughter.

  • Day 4 - Tour and Inflatable Kayaking: Yet another delicious breakfast is on hand to get started on the final day. Take a morning break from the river before we tour of Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, where the California Gold Rush saw its start and home of Sutter's Mill, museums, great trails and gold panning. The kids will love learning to pan for gold on the banks of the river. Following another morning full of fun, we reunite at our campsite for lunch. From here, we head back to the river, and onto the inflatable kayaks. These one- and tandem (two-person) boats are a brilliant way to explore the river, up close and personal. Enjoy your afternoon paddle (solo or with a buddy) along the 2.5-mile stretch back to camp.

  • Day 4 - Alternate Option: For families with children age 14 or over, you have the option to run the Class IV Middle Fork of the American, rather than the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park tour and Inflatable Kayaking on the South Fork American. This option requires an additional fee of $50/person. All folks should be in good physical condition for this river trip.

What's Included?
•  10 Delicious meals
•  3 nights Camping at River's Bend Resort
•  Skilled professional guides
•  Life jackets (to be worn on river at all times)
•  Excellent rafts, lake kayaks, inflatable kayaks and equipment
•  Spray Jackets (for lake kayaking)
•  Gold panning equipment
•  All transfers

What's Not Included?
•  Pre and Post Accommodations
•  Tents and Sleep Kits (available for rent)
•  Items of personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)

Family AdventuresWhy Visit California?
Nicknamed the Golden State, California has proven a fitting state for the metaphor. It is not only for the riches that were discovered here in the 19 th century, but for the wealth of beauty, culture and geographic diversity that exists here. From the Mojave Desert in the south to the redwoods of Northern California, west to the warm, sandy beaches of the Pacific and onto the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains, California really does have it all. Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, San Francisco, Death Valley, and Lake Tahoe are naming just a few of California's world-class attractions, all located within a day's drive of one another. In these and many other recreation destinations, outdoor enthusiasts find backpacking, skiing, rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, rafting, and much more.


Plan extra time on your Sierra Nevada Family Adventure Camp for some of California's best playgrounds:

  • Gold Country activities and attractions abound in the neighboring towns of Coloma and Placerville. Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, is home to Sutter's Mill and also offers museums, hiking trails and gold panning. A day spent at Dave Moore Nature Area in Coloma and gives you the options of free day-use picnicking, hiking and swimming, or perhaps rent a bike and take a scenic ride through the rolling hills, perhaps stopping in at one of the several excellent wineries of the El Dorado Winery Association . There's also the option to shop in old-town Placerville, visit the Gold Bug Mine on Bedford Street or the lovely Hooverville Orchards.
  • On the western slopes of the Central Sierras lies world-renowned Yosemite National Park . This impressive glacier-carved valley is surrounded by mountains and brimming with meadows, forests, and waterfalls. Hike, camp, or picnic in the looming presence of El Capitan and Half Dome, two of the park's most famous rock features. Roam through the Mariposa Grove, home to hundreds of Giant Sequoias – the largest living tree species on the planet. Or, head to more out-of-the way places like Glacier Point, which offers jaw-dropping vistas of the Yosemite Valley, or Tuolumne Meadows, a large sub-alpine meadow surrounded by lofty mountain peaks.
  • A few hours' drive west from the American brings you to San Francisco , which was recently named the nation's #1 vacation destination by Travel and Leisure magazine. Beautiful and historic, San Francisco showcases the evolution of a world-class city from the days of California's gold rush to the modern urban and trendy city it is today. This city is too full of options to speak of them all; excellent hotels and dining, exceptional galleries and performing arts, diversity, and easy access to both the coast and the mountains. Take a drive to Sausalito, or a ferry ride to Alcatraz while your there, it's also a short drive from the world-renowned wineries and lovely rolling hills of both Soonoma County and Napa Valley.
  • Nestled deep within the northern Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe lies amid mountains where some of the West's premier skiing, mountain biking, and hiking are. Internationally renowned resorts such as Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows offer terrific year round recreation, and the nearby “south shore” features a trendy and exciting nightlife. The quieter north shore of beautiful alpine lake offers several restful places to backpack, go horseback riding or just lie on the beach and enjoy the sunshine and pure mountain air.
  • Not far from the southern Sierra or the Pacific, California's deserts offer an astonishing contrast to the forests, rivers and oceans for which the state is largely recognized. Death Valley National Park covers 3.3 million acres of superb desert-scapes, rare wildlife and complex geology. It is also home to the lowest point in the western hemisphere at -282 feet (the highest point in the mainland U.S., Mt. Whitney, is within 50 miles of Death Valley's park boundary). Farther south, Joshua Tree National Park marks the junction of two unique deserts – the lower-elevation Colorado Desert and the higher and somewhat cooler Mojave Desert. This union of two different ecosystems results in a variety of desert plants and abundant wildlife. Joshua Tree is also well known for its intriguing geologic displays and world - class rock climbing.
  • California's tourism destinations are seemingly limitless. In addition to those mentioned above, Lassen Volcanic National Park, various national forests, southern California beaches, Sequoia National Park, amusement parks like Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Great America and other attractions too numerous to mention provide a multi-faceted experience for any visitor to the Golden State.

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