Mother Lode River Center

Mother Lode is an experiential learning center that offers whitewater rafting and kayaking, outdoor education, challenge ropes and sustainable practices programs from its 19-acre camp on the South Fork of the American River in the historic Coloma/Lotus Valley. Established with amazing facilities, and an excellent staff to help with all your needs from whitewater rafting to gourmet meals, Mother Lode River Center is an essential stop in the foothills between the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, about 45 minutes north of Sacramento.

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Latitude: 38.827337 Longitude: -120.942856 Elevation: 686 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Brita Olson

Areas of Service and Expertise

Located on the historic South Fork of the American River, a short distance from where the original "Mother Lode" of gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, the 19-acre camp has features that combine history, nature, adventure and educational activities, and modern creature comforts.

Camp amenities include gourmet meals, river front camping, tent cabins, hot showers, two commercial kitchens (one available for group rental), expansive lawns for camping and playing  volleyball or horseshoes.

Types of Experiences and Trips Provided

Mother Lode's customers raft on three different forks of the American River, the South, Middle and North Forks from early spring until late summer. The ratings vary from Class II to Class IV -- so customers can choose the level which works best for their group. Their  trips range in length from a half day, to two days long, and all meals can be included as desired.

Every summer is a family reunion as the Malode whitewater guides return from their adventures in the off-season. We always look forward to sharing stories about travels in Latin America, Asia, New Zealand and even Antarctica! As curious as they are adventurous, many of our staff have attained or are pursuing advanced degrees in subjects as diverse as environmental studies, creative writing, neuroscience, and nursing. Gourmet cooks, artists, educators — just scratch the surface, and you’ll discover that our whitewater guides and other staff have a wealth of talents and experiences to share.

Eco-Friendly Notes

We have a bio-diesel processing facility on-site so all of our river buses run on recycled veggie oil! Eat some food from our organic garden, and enjoy a hot shower from the solar hot water heaters. Mother Lode is committed to living and working lightly on the land.

Pet Friendly Notes

No pets please.

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