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Paddlesports Schools:

Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School
Located in:
Forks of Salmon, CA

More Details
Our Website
Otter Bar offers all skill levels of whitewater kayak instruction based out of our wilderness lodge on California's pristine Salmo (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: California River Trips  :: Tuolumne River California

Kayaking & Canoeing Tuolumne River California

Grand Canyon Run
Put-in:  Tioga Road Bridge in Tuolumne Meadows
Take-out:  Hetch Hatchery Reservoir
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  32 miles, 8 miles on reservoir
Cherry Creek
 photos of Cherry Creek  videos of Cherry Creek  map of Cherry Creek
Put-in:  Holm Powerhouse
Take-out:  Meral's Pool
Difficulty:  Class V @ 600 - 1,500 cfs, V+ > 1,500 cfs
Length:  9 miles
Main Tuolumne
 photos of Main Tuolumne  map of Main Tuolumne
Put-in:  Meral's Pool
Take-out:  Ward's Ferry Bridge
Difficulty:  Class IV+
Length:  18 miles
South Fork Tuolumne River
Put-in:  Highway 120 Bridge
Take-out:  Rainbow Pool Picnic Area
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  6 miles
North Fork of the Tuolumne River
Put-in:  Riverside Campground
Take-out:  Wards Ferry
Difficulty:  Class IV, V
Length:  12 miles


The Tuolumne is known as California’s premier whitewater river, flowing through one of the most spectacular canyons in Sierra Nevada. Although the boating season is long, from April through September, the most beautiful time of the year to go is April and May, when the wild flowers are in bloom. It is named after Miwok Native Americans who are called “talmalamne” or “people of stone dwellings.”

The “T” as it is known to local boaters, starts high in the mountains of Yosemite National Park and drains the western slopes of the Sierra crest. Between two major reservoirs, the Hetch Hetchy and the New Don Pedro, the river flows like a wild river in the winter and spring and throughout other times of the year, depending on dam releases. This stretch is a part of the National Wild and Scenic River system and is considered one of the primary tests of technical boating in California, and is one of the hardest sections of regularly boated whitewater in the country.

The Cherry Creek Run is a 9-mile expert-only stretch recommended only at low summer flows. Here the river cascades over granite boulders at an average rate of 100 ft. per mile.

The second section, the Main Tuolumne is an 18 mile 1 – 3 day run with numerous Class IVs and Vs and is one of the most popular trips in California because of its beautiful scenery, challenging whitewater, wilderness solitude and proximity to the Bay Area.