American River

1838 map from Britannica 7th edition, when the river was called Buenaventura River.
View of the American River from below the Guy West Bridge on the Sacramento State campus
American River view from the campus of California State University, Sacramento
North Fork at Foresthill Bridge
Middle Fork canyon
South Fork at Sutter's Mill
North Fork of American River
View of the American River from the William B. Pond Recreation Area
View of the American River from the William B. Pond Recreation Area

30 mi-long river in California that runs from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to its confluence with the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento.

- American River

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Auburn, California

City in and the county seat of Placer County, California, United States.

City in and the county seat of Placer County, California, United States.

Placer County Courthouse was constructed between 1894 and 1898.
Rolling hills of Auburn, taken near Indian Hill Road
The Queen Anne-style Old Town Firehouse is a landmark. It originally adjoined a row of commercial buildings (now demolished). It was home to the Auburn Volunteer Fire Department.

Auburn is situated in the Northern California foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, approximately 800 vertical feet above the confluence of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River.

James Marshall, c. 1884

James W. Marshall

James Marshall, c. 1884
The caption with this photo at the Library of Congress claims that this was Marshall in front of the mill in 1850. However, it was not. The historians at Marshall Gold State Historic Park have concluded that it is not Marshall and believe it to be the photographer's assistant put in the photo to show scale.
The spot where Marshall first discovered the gold that started the California Gold Rush
Marshall's cabin in Coloma, California

James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the impetus for the California Gold Rush.

An engraving of New Helvetia made in 1849

New Helvetia

19th-century Alta California settlement and rancho, centered in present-day Sacramento, California.

19th-century Alta California settlement and rancho, centered in present-day Sacramento, California.

An engraving of New Helvetia made in 1849

It was located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and American River.

Mokelumne River

95 mi-long river in northern California in the United States.

95 mi-long river in northern California in the United States.

The Mokelumne Wilderness, in the headwaters of the Mokelumne River
Panning for gold on the Mokelumne River
Rapids west of Highway 49, part of the Electra-Middle Bar Class II-III whitewater kayaking run
The Mokelumne River's Camanche Reservoir seen from the air, with the dam to the west (left)
The lower Mokelumne River passing through Lodi, California
North Fork of the Mokelumne River looking downstream towards the CA-26 bridge near West Point, included in SB 1199

The Mokelumne watershed divide borders the basins of the American River on the north, the Calaveras and Stanislaus rivers to the south, and the Carson River to the east.

Stanislaus River

Tributary of the San Joaquin River in north-central California in the United States.

Tributary of the San Joaquin River in north-central California in the United States.

Stanislaus River at Camp Nine, near the confluence of the North and Middle Forks.
Kennedy Lake, near the headwaters of the Middle Fork, seen from Leavitt Peak (11525 ft) in the Emigrant Wilderness
The Stanislaus River canyon at the Dardanelles area, where Donnells Lake reservoir is today, was formed by glaciation during the Ice Ages.
Stanislaus River at Caswell Memorial State Park, where Estanislao is thought to have fought Vallejo's troops
Knights Ferry covered bridge and the old Tulloch Mill (date unknown)
Map showing major dams, diversions and power plants in the Stanislaus River basin.
The 1926 Melones Dam
The Stanislaus River below New Melones Dam
Donnells Dam
The 18 megawatt Tulloch Dam is the lowermost hydroelectric plant on the Stanislaus River
Stanislaus River canyon at Big Dog Rapid, near the head of New Melones Lake
Low water on the Stanislaus River at Knights Ferry Covered Bridge
Rafting on the North Fork
Relief Reservoir is located at the headwaters of the Middle Fork Stanislaus River in the Emigrant Wilderness.

In the same year, gold was discovered on the American River, starting the California Gold Rush.

Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

National Recreation Trail
William Pond Recreation Area

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (or American River Bike Trail) is a paved multi-use pathway that runs between the confluence of the Sacramento River with the American River, just north of downtown Sacramento, California, and Beal's Point at Folsom Lake, north of Folsom.

Folsom Dam

Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway construction
Spillway failure in 1995
The new Folsom Lake Crossing bridge, built to bypass the dam, opened in March 2009
Folsom Dam and Lake, March 2004
Folsom Dam Power Plant

Folsom Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the American River of Northern California in the United States, about 25 mi northeast of Sacramento.

Jedediah Smith, life portrait, said to have been drawn by a friend, from memory, after the 1831 death of Smith

Jedediah Smith

American clerk, transcontinental pioneer, frontiersman, hunter, trapper, author, cartographer, and explorer of the Rocky Mountains, the Western United States, and the Southwest during the early 19th century.

American clerk, transcontinental pioneer, frontiersman, hunter, trapper, author, cartographer, and explorer of the Rocky Mountains, the Western United States, and the Southwest during the early 19th century.

Jedediah Smith, life portrait, said to have been drawn by a friend, from memory, after the 1831 death of Smith
Lewis and Clark
Regions of the Missouri River Watershed
Arikara warrior
Bodmer (1840–1843)
19th-century depiction of a grizzly bear attack
Crow Indians
Bodmer (1840–1843)
Jedediah Smith's party crossing the burning Mojave Desert during the 1826 trek to California by Frederic Remington
Father Sánchez gave Jedediah and LaPlant a lavish dinner at Mission San Gabriel.
The exploration of the West by Jedediah Smith. The branch of the Sacramento River that is labeled as pointing northeast is now known as the Pit River.
Smith's return to California threatened Mexican authority at Mission San José.
California's Central Valley. Smith and his men explored the southern San Joaquin Valley in 1826–27, and the northern Sacramento Valley in 1828.
Smith met with George Simpson, Governor-in-Chief of the HBC, at Fort Vancouver, after the Umpqua massacre.
Blackfoot warrior
Bodmer (1840–1843)
Secretary of War
John H. Eaton
Comanches as depicted in the 1830s.
Painting by Lino Sánchez y Tapia (1830s).
The Santa Fe Trail
Frémont-Gibbs-Smith map

They followed the Cosumnes River (the northernmost tributary of the San Joaquin River) upstream, but veered off it to the north and crossed over to the American River, a tributary of the Sacramento that flowed into San Francisco Bay.

Union Valley Reservoir, from Big Hill Lookout

Union Valley Reservoir

Reservoir in eastern El Dorado County, California, about 20 mi northeast of Placerville.

Reservoir in eastern El Dorado County, California, about 20 mi northeast of Placerville.

Union Valley Reservoir, from Big Hill Lookout

It was formed in 1963 by the 453 ft high earth and rockfill Union Valley Dam on Silver Creek, which is a tributary of the American River.

Sheet music cover depicting Sacramento flooding

Great Flood of 1862

The largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada, and California, occurring from December 1861 to January 1862.

The largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada, and California, occurring from December 1861 to January 1862.

Sheet music cover depicting Sacramento flooding
A map of the flood area of the hypothetical ARkStorm event

The city of Sacramento suffered the worst damage due to its levee, which lay in a wide and flat valley at the junction of the American and Sacramento rivers.