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Difficulty III-V
Length 9.6 Miles
Gauge So. American Below Kyburz
Flow Range 600 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago 17 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 05/07/2009 3:30 am

River Description

 2009 trip report by Neil Nikirk:

Just ran the Kyburz section of the SFA for the first time last week. What a kick! It was running about 1100 cfs. Which while higher than most of the kayakers I joined had ever run it, was about the minimum I would want for a raft. I took the little cat and the comments from the kayakers before the run were: “you’ve never run it before? You’re gonna love it”; “well, you’ve got the craft to run the upper section”; and oh yeah “I’ve never seen a raft on here before.” So much for making me wonder what I was in for! We put in just below IndianFalls, a serious drop that has been run (not recommended) and boated about 6 miles. There is another 3 miles or so to the

Peavine Road
bridge with some good rapids I hear, but the climb out is pretty brutal for a raft.

The section we ran was well worth it. The first half mile or so was quite bony, just bouncing over a few rock gardens. After that, the river channel cleans up and the rapids get better. You can scout some of them from the highway. The series of rapids known as “the slide” was quite interesting. Individual good drops separated by moving water and short pools. A couple of must-make moves with minor consequences for not quite making the move. “Joe’s Garage” against a river left wall on a right corner was fun. You just didn’t want to spend much time in the “garage” so pulled right. “Kitty Litter” was just a fun slalom through some boulders. Below Kitty, the gradient lessens, the rapids drop off, and it’s an enjoyable float to the take-out.


In terms of difficulty, this run was comparable to the NF American (Chamberlains) at medium flows, but with longer rapids; a little easier than the Tuolumne

. The beauty of this run for us here in Sac is that it’s less than an hours drive, shuttle is short and on the freeway, and the road is right there if anything goes wrong. The kayakers were right, I loved it. I also had a great craft for this river (13 foot cat). If I can, I’ll make sure they see a few more rafts or cats on this run in the future. For solid Class IV boaters, this is a great local run.




Other Information Sources:
CA Creeks.
Dreamflows forum
Blog by CA49rivers
Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Martin, Penny


Rapid Descriptions


Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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1000+ Comments Halt Threats to the South Fork American River (CA)

Theresa Simsiman

Last May American Whitewater and our colleagues at Friends of the River asked for your help to stop El Dorado Irrigation District’s (EID) proposed modification of Water Right Permit 21112. This proposal contained changes to water diversion points for 17,000-acre feet of water per year that would have been detrimental to 50 miles of whitewater on the South Fork American River. This included our favorite Class II-V whitewater reaches on Kyburz, Golden Gate, Slab Creek, Chili Bar, Coloma to Greenwood & the Gorge. We are happy to report your overwhelming response generated 1065 comments helping to stop this proposal in its tracks.

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Passive Access Reductions on South Fork American (CA)

Jason Robertson

In January 2001, American Whitewater Regional Coordinator Mike Bean alerted El Dorado County officials that boaters are strongly concerned about the spectre of reduced access opportunities on the South Fork American. Access is being reduced through passive controls and agreements, which allow commercial access but limit or deny the public's ability to get to and from the river. A copy of the letter is attached.

Paul Martzen


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1189938 05/07/09 Paul Martzen n/a