The Middle Fork of the American River Watershed features an endless array of natural beauty as well as recreational opportunities for countless outdoor adventures. The Middle Fork is located on the west slope of the Sierra Nevadas.
Take a look at the Middle Fork recreational opportunities and read more below.
Campgrounds and picnic areas can be found throughout the watershed. You can camp out along French Meadow Reservoir for waterfront views, or if you are looking for a quiet place to spot wildlife, head to the more isolated Middle Meadows campground. Many sites opened Memorial Day weekend and remain open through September.

Maps and information about facilities and amenities can be found on the PCWA website. Reserve campsites at the National Forest Reserve System and
Commercial outfitters offer guided rafting trips during the summer months. Thrill-seekers can experience the 15-mile Tunnel Chute Run while more novice rafters can take a calmer run downstream.
Visit PCWA's rafting page for more information.
The watershed offers scenic trails open to the public. Hikers can travel from French Meadows and Hell Hole reservoirs to the Granite Chief Wilderness areas or find the vista points at Grouse Falls and Big Trees Grove.
The watershed provides excellent fishing opportunities. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife keeps French Meadows Reservoir stocked with rainbow trout and Hell Hole Reservoir with rainbow and brown trout and Kokanee.
River flows can be cold, swift and unpredictable. Many seemingly tranquil waterways can present dangerous hazards. Use extreme caution, proper safety equipment and be alert. Follow these river safety tips:
  • Never swim alone.
  • Always wear a lifejacket.
  • Avoid alcohol when you are around water.
  • Learn lifesaving skills.
  • Take care when walking on slippery or uneven surfaces around or in water.
  • Water levels and speed can change daily depending on water releases from reservoirs and summer snowmelt.
  • River water is colder than you might think! Record snowpack has made for lower than average water temperatures this year. Always use caution when first entering the water.
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