American, S. Fork, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||117 fpm|
|Max Gradient||200 fpm|
|So. American Below Kyburz|
|dream-184||600 - 2000 cfs||IV-V(V+)||-21h55m||43 cfs (too low)|
An often overlooked California classic, Golden Gate is a one day run composed of miles upon miles
of steep boulder gardens of the finest quality. Five larger rapids are mixed
in. While none are mandatory portages, several of the five are often portaged.
Golden Gate runs during the late winter and spring. To be satisfying for the class V boater, Golden Gate needs adequate flows, with 1000 generally considered optimal.
The name Golden Gate has little to do with the character of the run, other than the steepness. It is an ironic reference to an early prediction that the section was unrunnable. Charles Martin wrote in the 1974 Sierra Whitewater guidebook, "This run would be a novel substitute for jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge." Charles was no slouch, but he could not predict the development of plastic boats and sky jumping/boofing techniques.
Getting There: Take Highway 50 from Sacramento up to Pollock Pines.
Take out: In Pollock Pines take the Sly Park exit and go north. At Pony Express Trail turn left, then immediately turn right onto Forebay Road. Follow Forebay road all the way to a bridge over the SF American River, about 8 miles. There appears to be easy river access on the north side of the river, just downstream of the bridge.
Put in: Continue on Highway 50 past Pollock Pines a few miles to Pacific House and turn north. Head right on Peavine Ridge Road. It turns to dirt and leads to a bridge across the river. Alternatively, continue on Highway 50 till it is close enough to the river to provide access.
There is camping nearby on Ice House Road. Groceries and gasoline are available in Pollock Pines. Meals are available at many locations along Highway 50.
Other information Sources:
Jefferson State Creeking
A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHITEWATER IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, HOLBEK & STANLEY, 1998
Sierra Whitewater, Charles Martin, 1974