Special Places

Highlighted Areas

Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River

Rafter executing a rapid on the Tuolumne River Visitors rafting down the Tuolumne river surrounded by mountains.
Access to the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River via Lumsden Road is closed, to provide for public safety, under Forest Order No. STF-16-2023-04 due to road damage caused by the 2023 atmospheric events. Access is limited to FSR 1S01, (South Fork Rd) – walk in only. Please contact the Groveland RD for additional information.

Considered to be some of the best "All Around" whitewater in the nation, the Main Tuolumne offers 16-18 miles of Class 4-5 rapids. Side streams such as the Clavey River, Big Creek, and the North Fork of the Tuolumne River offers side hikes, fishing holes, and warm swimming pools during the summer months. 

Main Tuolumne - The Main Tuolumne is a challenging and enjoyable Class 4+, 18-mile whitewater run through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This section has some demanding rapids spaced at close intervals. At above 4,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). The river becomes more powerful and recovery more difficult. The biggest rapid, the Clavey, can be walked around or portaged. Camping is available at several sites along the way. Reservoir release summer flows generally arrive at Merals Pool launch mid-morning and drop to less than 300cfs after noon. A three-day trip allows boaters to enjoy the canyon and its tributaries. River flow graphs can be found at http://dreamflows.com.

During spring runoff, flows above 5,000 CFS make the Main Tuolumne a class 5 experience. The takeout at Wards Ferry Bridge is difficult and dangerous at all times. Stay hydrated and exercise caution carrying boats up the bridge.

Cherry Creek - The 9-mile class 5+ Cherry Creek/Tuolumne run is one of the most challenging commercial runs in the world. Yet the nature of the rock in the riverbed allows expert boaters an exhilarating experience. It has 15 class 5 rapids. Two 5+ rapids (Flat Rock Falls and Lumsden Falls) are recommended portage. Generally, it is run below 2,000 CFS. Boaters who attempt this run are well-advised to go with experts that have run the river before. As with the Main T, a permit is required to run the river. Permits are available at www.recreation.gov 

Seperate permits are required from Cherry-Creek to Merals Pool and from Merals Pool to Wards Ferry Bridge.