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River Rafting on the Tuolumne River

Paddle boat on the Tuolumne in springDuring the spring Sierra snow melt, the Tuolumne River is as fierce as any California Stream. The huge waves and hydraulics are enough to scare even the most seasoned river rafting guide, but most know that spring on the Tuolumne River is as good as rafting gets. Every year, sometime in June, the natural river flow drops and Holm Powerhouse on Cherry Creek releases just enough water for a raft to negotiate the river. The river changes from a scary and dangerous maelstrom to a truly technical challenge.

Highlights of a Tuolumne River trip are exciting rapids, camping along the Clavey River, hiking to water slides on the North Fork, and the possibility of exploring the remnants of the mining days. During the California spring one and two day trips are available. When the water drops sometime in June we spend two or three days exploring the canyon. Previous rafting experience is recommended but not required. Rafting in California through the Tuolumne River Canyon is an amazing journey that will not be forgotten.

Recommended Permitted Outfitter

ECHO River Trips has been running high quality trips on the Tuolumne River since 1972. ECHO specializes in high water spring trips when the hillsides are green and the flowers are in bloom. Most trips are two days with few one day and three day trips available.

We (Vlad and Zach) have a combined 21 years of guiding and managing experience on the Tuolumne River so we can answer any questions about outfitters, trip details, and special trips. Due to our experience as rafting guides on this river, we can find the outfitter that is right for you and negotiate a reduced price for your trip. Each of the seven outfitters on the Tuolumne runs a different style trip and offers different accommodations so we can help find the outfitter that is right for you. Learn more about Tuolumne River rafting at CaliRiver.com.

Trip Itinerary (three day trip)

Day 1:

You will meet your lead rafting guide at the La Casa Loma River Store near Groveland and share a cup of coffee as you pack your bag. A class V bus ride follows as we make our way down the historic Lumsden Road to the river. After a thorough safety talk we embark on the river and run the rapids 'Nemesis,' 'Sunderland's Chute,' 'Rams Head,' 'Stern,' as well as many others. We will camp at the confluence of the famous Clavey River with the Tuolumne.

Day 2:

Gear boat in the hole at Clavey FallsWe will wake up next to the Clavey River and stare at Clavey Falls as we eat breakfast. Clavey Falls is the largest rapid on the river and it likes to eat rafts for its breakfast. After Clavey Falls we will run countless class III and IV rapids as we make our way down to the North Fork of the Tuolumne.

Day 3:

The highlight of most Tuolumne trips is a 45 minute walk up the North Fork Tuolumne to Devils Gate where we relax at an idyllic swimming hole and water slide. Here we will lounge in the sun on natural lounge chairs and cliff jump into a deep pool before returning to lunch and the last few miles of the river. Our trip ends on Don Pedro Reservoir at Wards Ferry Bridge.

Tour Includes:

Transfers to and from the La Casa Loma River Store

English speaking rafting guides that speak the river guide dialect

Terrific meals on the river


High water and spring rafting trips require the use of a "farmer john" wetsuit.

Trip Length:

1, 2, and 3 days
18.5 miles


Class IV


Apr to Sept

Average Gradient :

38 ft/mile

Typical Flow :

2,500 cfs (Spring)
1,000 cfs (Summer)

Put In :

Meral's Pool

Take Out :

Wards Ferry

Contact Us:

Online Contact Form

RaftSiberia (916) 624-5189
PO Box 3184, Rocklin, CA 95677
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