River Runners

River Runners – A Love Story

River Runners is a whitewater rafting outfitter that offers inspired whitewater rafting adventures on the forks of the American River

Ten years ago, I was in Australia hiking through a tropical rainforest with John and Hillary, a pair of siblings who were visiting my country from the USA. They were from the banks of the South Fork of the American River where they worked as whitewater raft guides for River Runners in Lotus, California. A year and a half later I came to visit Lotus for the summer…

It was the tail end of spring when I arrived, and I immediately fell in love with the bucolic rolling green hills spotted with oaks and the riparian wonderland lined with buckeyes, alders and chaparral. Day after day I went down river with River Runners, I lost myself in the sound of the rapids and the thrill of paddling through crashing waves in all sorts of crafts. Whitewater rafting made me feel so alive.

Spring turned into summer. As the rest of the valley yellowed, Camp Lotus, where River Runners operates, remained green like a beacon to every deer and quail in the area, who would wait for the weekend rush to be over before they frolicked through the place making it seem like an enchanted forest from a fairytale. I fell in love with the place, with the river, with whitewater rafting and with John.

John has been guiding most of his adult life, his life on the river is an integral part of who he is and his enthusiasm for it is infectious. By 2012 I had immigrated to the USA, John and I got married and I was a whitewater raft guide. By October of 2015 John and I owned River Runners.

River Runners was already a very special place to us. Once we were at the helm, we discovered so many more ways that we could share the excitement, beauty and thrill of white water rafting with our guests. As soon as our guests walk into our camp, they talk about how it feels so calm, personal and inspired. After a river trip with us our guests are blown away by how much fun they had. We give every trip the attention to detail, smooth logistics and exceptional guides it deserves – every trip is a work of art to us.

The entire River Runners team is a tight unit of people who genuinely care about the river, each other and the people who come rafting with us. Every guide and support staff member has their own love story with the river and with River Runners’ unique brand of whitewater rafting.

Some of our guests have been rafting with us every year for decades and every season that family gets bigger. When you raft with River Runners, whitewater rafting ceases to be something that you just tick off your bucket list and becomes a way to regularly connect with the part of you that lives in the moment – the part of you that is excited to be alive. When you raft at River Runners it becomes part of your story too.

Sarah Vardaro
Vice President and River Guide
River Runners
5461 Bassi Road
Lotus, California 95651
(530) 622 5110