Tule Canyon

Tule Canyon
Giant Sequoia National Monument

Tule RiverTule River. Three forks of the Tule River drain the high mountain tops of the Great Western Divide to form Lake Success, a reservoir managed by the Army corps of Engineers located five miles above the city of Porterville. The North and the Middle Fork split above the foothill community of Springville. Highway 190 travels alongside the Middle Fork Tule River and Balch Park Road follows the North Fork.

As you travel up Highway 190 past Lake Success and just before the town of Springville is the Western Divide Ranger Station. Stop to pick up free brochures, travel information, or talk with one of the Forest Service employees. The Three Forest Interpretive Association (3FIA) offers books and interpretive materials for sale that will help you enjoy your visit.

The North and Middle Forks of the Tule River offer visitors great fishing, hiking, camping, and picnicking opportunities in a ruggedly beautiful canyon setting. In the lower canyon, Lower and Upper Coffee Camp day use areas provide parking, restrooms, and picnic sites. Overnight camping is allowed at developed campgrounds; Wishon, Belknap, and Coy Flat.

Wishon Canyon map

Water in the river always looks inviting, especially during the hot summer months, but it can be quite dangerous. Be extra careful along rivers and streams; falling in is as dangerous as swimming. Once in a river, getting out can be nearly impossible. Rocks are smooth and slippery; swift, cold water rapidly saps your strength, watch children carefully.

Fishing is allowed on the Tule River Year-round with a valid California fishing license. Licenses can be purchased at local retailers. The California Department of Fish and Game stocks the Tule River at several locations, including Coffee Camp, Wishon and Belknap Campgrounds. Be sure to stop by the ranger station for more information on regulations or visit the fish and Game website at www.dfg.ca.gov.

Belknap Grove Complex lines the upper reaches of the Middle fork of the Tule River and is easy to reach by car from May through mid-November. It includes the Wheel Meadow, McIntyre, and Belknap Groves with beautiful old-growth sequoias. The Nelson Trail (Forest Trail 31E30) travels along the river from Belknap Campground to Quaking Aspen where the Middle Fork of the Tule River originates.

California Land Management (CLM). Most developed campground areas on the Forest operate under a concessionaire permit with CLM. For additional information, please visit www.clm-services.com or call their Hume Lake office at 559-335-2232, their Springville office at 559-539-3004, or their Lake Isabella office at 760-376-1815.

Campgrounds Elevation Sites Season Max. Trailer Potable Water Remarks
Belknap 4800 15 May-Nov No Yes Reservations available
Coy Flat
S (Single Family)
D (Double Family)
5000 18-S
May-Nov 24’ No Reservations available
Day Use Areas Elevation Sites Season Potable Water Remarks
Lower Coffee Camp 2000 19 All Year Yes Day Use Only, fee
The “Stairs” River Access 2600 9 All Year No Day Use Only
Upper Coffee Camp 2100 19 May-Nov Yes Day Use Only, fee
Trails Trail # Elevation Miles Remarks
Bear Creek 31E31 5000-9000 8.0 Belknap Grove, bicycles permitted
Nelson 13E30 5300-6800 3.7 Wheel Meadow/Mcintyre Groves, fishing, bicycles permitted