The Tuolumne River
The Tuolumne is rafting Nirvana. This run has fun Class IV and IV+ rapids, a summer rafting season, great scenery, and the canyon has a magic glow to it. You will have fun on the Tuolumne.
Featured Tuolumne River Outfitters
The trip starts off with a memorable six mile drive down a steep dirt road into the canyon. The first rapid, Rock Garden, causes the most problems at the lower summer flows because there are several places to wrap and/or get really stuck. The four miles that follow Rock Garden are packed with a series of challenging rapids.
The pace eases after the first four miles, but the rapids keep on coming. You'll know you're at the biggest rapid on the run, Clavey Falls, when you see the famous Clavey River enter on the right side. You'll definitely want to scout this one as there are all kinds of ways to mess it up.
There are two good camps above Clavey Falls which allow boaters to do a great side hike up to a swimming pool and water slide on the Clavey River. There are plenty more great camps below the Clavey as well. These campsites alternate between private groups and commercial groups on odd and even years.
The best rapid of the run is Grey's Grindstone, which is about half way down the Tuolumne and about half a mile long. Fun rapids keep coming all the way to the end of the trip on Don Pedro Reservoir. The North Fork of the Tuolumne enters the river just above Don Pedro.
The Tuolumne can be done in one day but why? The camps on the Tuolumne are downright beautiful and the side hikes to water slides on the Clavey River and North Fork of the Tuolumne are worth it. In order to enjoy much of what the canyon has to offer, the Tuolumne is best done as a three day trip.