24 Hour Flow
What do the numbers
450-1500 CFS= Normal flows for
1500-3000 CFS= Portions of the run
become Class III.
Above 3000 CFS= Brushy.
About The River...
[Descriptions from California
might be the best training run in California, partly because of
reliable summertime flows, and also because the rapids increase in
difficulty as the run progresses, allowing boaters to build up
There is one of almost everything on this run: some shallow boulder
long stretches of riffles, a wrap-rock goalpost, a turbulent chute, an
a bridge piling, a rock dodging channel, a sweeping turn, and finally,
a steep falls into an underwater rock (scouting advised).
people do this run at least twice in a day. Prevail upon your friends
who drive pickup trucks or cars with good roof-top racks, so you can
your boats for a quick shuttle without deflating and reinflating.
and cultural enrichment are available nearby at Indian Grinding Rock
State Park, where native Americans practiced free trade before
even thought about it. At one time this was the largest acorn paste
in America. During the fall, weather is nice and campsites are less
than in summertime.
should stay off this river at high flows, when current goes into
and thru riverside trees, making rescue difficult and swimming
At such times, there are many other good river choices.
0 Rig your boats in the shade and carry them across the sandy beach to
the cold river. A calm pool gives beginners an opportunity to get used
to their boat's handling characteristics.
Wide and shallow boulder bar. Looking down at the varied rockbed
sometimes makes you feel like you are flying.
Goalpost move between two wrap rocks, after a long chute beside some
1.3 The Slot, class II
The river funnels into a narrow chute with swift current and big waves
at the bottom.
2.6 S Turn, class II+
The river drops over a gravel bar, collects to the left, passes several
rocks (or holes at higher flows), then turns sharp right against a rock
outcropping. Good surfing waves below. Some people take out right below
to simplify their multi-run shuttles.
2.7 Bridge Piling, class II+
Almost immediately the river turns right and flows past an old concrete
bridge piling, which creates lots of turbulence that is easily
avoidable, although you may not think so initially, on the right. Swift
water in a narrow channel continues to the bridge.
2.9 River crosses under highway 49 bridge. Action soon increases.
3.0 Sweeping Left Turn, class II+
The river turns left among big rocks, past a cliff on the right, and
into some big waves.
3.1 Pin the Hardshell, AKA Devil's Toiletbowl, class III-, scout left
This is rated class III- because the drop is about 1 meter high, the
international standard for making a class II/III distinction. In a
hardshell kayak this rapid could be quite painful if you struck the
underwater rock. But in an inflatable the drop is quite safe and
straightforward. Depending on flows, you might want to slant a bit
towards the right.
3.2 Carry your boats back up a trail on the left bank to highway 49. A
sign warns you that boating below this point is illegal. It might not
say that violators are subject to a $500 fine. This is part of EBMUD's
continuing attempt to flood this section by raising Pardee Reservoir or
by building a new hydro project. Anonymous constitutionalists report
that the river soon tapers off to class II- with superb scenery and
To reach take-out on highway
49, drive south almost 5 miles from Jackson,
or north more than 3 miles from Mokelumne Hill, until you reach the
at the bottom of the hill. From Jackson, Electra Road is a sharp left
just before the bridge. There is very little parking along highway 49.
reach put-in from there, drive up the river on one-lane Electra Road,
paying close attention to oncoming traffic. The Electra picnic area,
with crowded parking, outhouses, and Cops-like personnel, is 3 miles
There have been frequent reports of vehicle break-ins and stolen
(especially beer). One good idea is to designate rotating shuttle