Mother Lode River Center Camping + Rafting Experience

Hey everyone, this past weekend was very new and exciting for me, since I camped for the first time in my life!

I spent Friday to Sunday at the Mother Lode River Center in Lotus, California with my boyfriend. It was a 9-year anniversary romantic getaway-if you want to call it that. We found out about Mother Lode through Living Social, and I am so glad we found it because we got such an amazing deal and had an even more AMAZING TIME.


We drove about six and a half hours from Los Angeles to Lotus. We camped two nights, rafted for five hours and even did a little cliff jumping.




Here’s what we got for $307. 

  1. Two nights at the Mother Lode River Center.
  2. A dome pop up tent for two people.
  3. Two sleeping pads.
  4.  One guided rafting trip for two people on the South Fork American River Lower Gorge with Class II,III rapids.
  5. Lunch before the rafting trip.
  6. Dinner after the rafting trip.
  7. S’mores after the rafting trip.
  8. Breakfast on the last day.
  9. Access to the river.


To be honest, this was a really good deal especially because I’ve gone rafting through other places where they charge over a hundred dollars for just one person with nothing else included. So, getting all these extra perks made it worth every penny.




Our raft had eight people and our guide, Amber. Who was extremely fun, professional and had a great and positive attitude the entire weekend.  What I really enjoyed about this rafting experience were the extra little things our guide did to make the experience more interactive, as if going through class three rapids wasn’t interactive enough. It was a lot of fun!

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Two people ended up falling out of our raft, but thankfully nothing serious occurred and they were pulled back safely onto the raft. So I definitely suggest being safe and cautious during the bigger rapids. Tip: Stick your toes tightly in the wedges of the raft. And if you lose your balance always try to fall inside the raft. 

The scenery was beautiful, the river was surrounded by tall trees and was very clean. Be prepared to get a little chilly during the rafting. Only because certain parts are heavily shaded and the water can be super cold. Tip: Girls wear shorts and a shirts versus a bikini. 

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A bonus of rafting with Mother Lode was the cliff jumping addition. Half way through the day, there is a break period where you are fed granola bars and are given the opportunity to jump off a cliff. It’s very safe, a little scary but super fun. They have guides everywhere making sure nothing bad happens and that the river doesn’t take you.

I did jump off the cliff and it was the highlight of the entire trip for me personally. It was something I had always wanted to do and I am so happy I was given the chance to do so in such a safe environment. (Follow me on IG @_denisesalcedo to see the video!)

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I loved camping at Mother Lode, mainly because it was clean, peaceful and quiet. There weren’t many bugs or creepy animals and the sound of the river puts you to sleep easily. Only cons of camping not just Mother Lode but any campsite was that it gets SUPER COLD at night and having to go to the bathroom at night.Tip:DRESS WARMLY. BRING EXTRA BLANKETS and PEE BEFORE GOING TO BED. 

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To be honest, even though we had many meals offered to us-that came with our package, we only ate once at the camp. We had the dinner after rafting. They served pasta with penne  sauce, risotto and chicken. It tasted better than I expected but the only problem was that it wasn’t filling enough. We did end up eating again afterwards.



If you haven’t already been to Lotus, you would probably think that the camp was completely isolated from any towns. However, that’s not the case. Right across the street from Mother Lode are many restaurants where you can have a bite to eat. So don’t worry too much about packing so much food.

We did dinner our first day there at Squally’s,a delicious pizza place. I highly recommend this spot, if you’re in the mood for pizza. IMG_20160826_181722796_HDR

For breakfast we went to this really cute cafe called  Sierra Rizing   , they had a good selection of pastries and breakfast dishes.

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Overall, we had an amazing time, with both of our busy work schedules it was so nice to just get away for a few days and try new things that are out of comfort zone. It was more peaceful and adventurous than we thought and we loved it. After our experience with Mother Lode, we would recommend it to other people and hopefully go back next summer.

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Mother Lode River Center
6280 Highway 49
Lotus, CA 95651
(530) 626-4187

6 Comments Add yours

  1. carefreespiritfairy says:

    You guys had an incredible time and that pizza makes me hungry


  2. That’s a steal! Great trip and beautiful!


  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you for posting this! I hadn’t hear of this California spot and my husband is always looking for great camp sites. Beautiful photos and scenery. I’d love to do the rafting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely check it out! You’d love it!


  4. Stephy says:

    I camped once in my entire life and it was so quiet I got all paranoid. XD That’s all I remember. o.o

    Since my balance is just awful I’d probably never go rafting. I’d rather just go to a water park. I’m also afraid of heights, so jumping off a cliff would be a no-no too.

    Don’t I sound like fun to hang out with? 😛


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