Tuolumne River Rafting Trip

Trip Miscellaneous River Information

Rapids Lists: Lumsden Bridge to Wards Ferry Bridge 18 miles of river

Rock Garden Mile 0.1 class IV
Nemesis Mile 0.5 class IV
Sunderland Chute Mile 0.8 class IV+
Hackamack Hole Mile 1.0 class IV
Ram’s Head Mile 1.6 class IV above 3,000 CFS class V
India Mile 1.9 class IV
Lower India Mile 2.1 class IV
Stern Mile 4.5 class IV
Evangelist Mile 4.8 class IV
Clavey Falls Mile 5.5 class V
Gray Gridstone Mile 9.5 class IV
Thread-The Needle Mile 11.0 class IV
Steamboat Mile 12.1 Class
Cabin Mile 12.8 class IV
Hell’s Kitchen Mile 13.3 class IV
Pinball Mile 17.6 class III

Note: All mileage is measured from the boat launch below / at Lumsden Bridge

General Notes:

The Tuolumne (pronounced too-all-o-me) offers the finest in class IV whitewater in a canyon of pure wilderness. Clear and cool, fresh from its headwaters in Yosemite National Park, the Tuolumne thunders through a grand succession of boulder gardens and spectacular cascades. Voluptuously steep, plunging this way and that, it moves in patterns that are frolicsome, tangled and mesmerizing.

In what has been called "the most significant victory in the history of the Wild and Scenic River System," the designation of National Wild and Scenic River was bestowed by an act of Congress in 1984 on this idyllic stream. And richly deserving it is: Between Meral’s Pool and Ward’s Ferry bridge, no roads or other signs of present-day civilization penetrate the Tuolumne canyon. The place is an Eden—of pristine beaches and campsites rich in gold rush and Miwok Indian history; of side-canyon water slides and swimming holes; of bald eagle, river otter, and ring-tailed cat; and of racy, intricate whitewater including such rapids as Sunderland’s Chute, Hackamack’s Hole, Ram’s Head, Grey’s Grindstone, Hell’s Kitchen and the imous Clavey Falls, a powerful class V drop around which many prudent souls choose to walk.

Trips on the Tuolumne are under permit from the Stanislaus National Forest, which restricts the river to two guided trips per day.

The following trip is one day on the river (the whole 18.2 miles in one day). However because of the drive and other events the trip is planned for the whole weekend or the minimum of one Friday overnight in Groveland.

Important: The permits are for 10 twelve people (rafters and catarafts, etc).  Kayakers are not counted and do not require permits.  We can possible get additional permits the day of the trip (55% of all permits are never picked up and our released by 10:00 a.m. the morning of the departure date at the forest service station in Groveland)   The permits are for a Saturday start date for three days on the river.  Any of the Saturday start date trips can be turned into an overnight camp trip on the river.

Schedule of Events / Agenda


11:30 a.m.               Meet at my house

2:00 p.m.                 Arrive at Wards Ferry Bridge and drop off vehicles

2:30 p.m.                 Arrive Groveland Motel and check in

3:00 p.m.                 Arrive Groveland Ranger Station and pick up permits

3:00 - 7:00 p.m.        Rainbow Pools, bum around Groveland or "other"

7:00 p.m.                 Dinner in Groveland at the Mexican Restaurant

Evening                    Meet "stranglers" at the Groveland Motel - Hwy 120, Groveland (209) 962-7865


Note: You can drive up the Friday evening after work and meet the group.


Saturday (non controlled release days)

6:00 a.m.                 Wake Up

7:00 a.m.                 Leave for Lumsden Bridge

7:30 a.m.                 Arrive at Lumsden Bridge

9:00 a.m.                 Float the boat, leave Lumsden Bridge

3:00 - 5:00 p.m.        Arrive at Wards Ferry Bridge

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.        Dinner in Groveland at the Iron Door Bar.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.        Fetch vehicles from Lumsden Bridge

10:00 - 12:00 a.m.    Arrive back in Sacramento


Saturday (controlled release days)

7:00 a.m.                 Wake Up

8:00 a.m.                 Leave for Lumsden Bridge

8:30 a.m.                 Arrive at Lumsden Bridge

10:30 a.m.               Float the boat, leave Lumsden Bridge

4:00 - 6:00 p.m.        Arrive at Wards Ferry Bridge

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.        Dinner in Groveland at the Iron Door Bar.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.        Fetch vehicles from Lumsden Bridge

10:00 - 12:00 a.m.    Arrive back in Sacramento


Note: Depending on circumstances I will be staying in Groveland Saturday night and taking the "slow road" home Sunday and seeing the other attractions in the area.



Columbia State Park

Natural Bridges


Overnight Accommodations in Groveland

Berkshire Inn, 19950 State Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321,


Charlotte Hotel, 18736 Old Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321,


Evergreen Lodge, 33160 Evergreen Rd, Groveland, CA 95321,


Groveland Hotel & Inn, 18767 Main St, Groveland, CA 95321,


Groveland Motel, 18933 Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321,


Lee’s Middle Fork Resort, 11399 Cherry Oil Rd, Groveland, CA 95321,


Yosemite Gatehouse Lodge, 34001 State Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321,


Pine Mountain Lake (Vacation Rentals) - Groveland
(209) 962-7123

Groveland Watershed Visitors Center 209-962-0641

Length of Trip:

This trip is an extremely long day (6 to 8 hours).  You must work smarter not harder.  You must pace yourself the entire length of the trip from the beginning of the morning to the end of the day.  The most dangerous miles are the last miles.  People gets fatigued, they become careless, and sloppy toward the end of the day.  The carelessness or sloppy behavior at the end of the day leads to accidents that could have been avoided.



Groveland – buy T Shirts for the crew

Important things that have to be decided ahead of time:

  1. Vehicles (1 crew, we need one / two besides my truck, 2 crews, we need two to three besides my truck)
  2. Wet suits / dry suits. Wet suits / dry suits. 
  3. Where are you going to meet?
  4. Accommodations in Groveland, if you want to arrange them ahead of time. I am staying at the Groveland motel (the rest of you can stay in a shoe or sleep with the dog on the porch out in front of the Iron Door bar, I don't care)
  5. Who are you going to ride with. If you bring your own vehicle you can be home sooner Saturday night. If you ride with me you might not get home till Sunday.
  6. Things we have:
  7. Things we need:
  8. Things we have to buy:
  9. Things we have to rent:

(?) at the take out
(?) at the put in

Crew Configuration's):