Tuolumne River Permits

Stanislaus National Forest

Welcome to one of the most celebrated whitewater experiences in the world. With careful preparation and knowledge, you’ll have a wonderful river adventure and memories to last a lifetime!

The Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River is renowned worldwide for its remote class IV to V+ whitewater and scenery. Designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1984, it originates in the remains of the Lyell Glacier and travels 83 miles through incredible waterfalls and glaciated canyons in Yosemite National Park into and through 27 miles of crystal clear whitewater on the Stanislaus National Forest, ending at the Don Pedro Reservoir on Bureau of Land Management land. To learn more about the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River, visit: https://www.tuolumne.org/3736-2/

Recommended for highly experienced boat operators, the Cherry Creek Run is a nine-mile, one day class V+ run. With a gradient of 110 feet per mile and a "Miracle Mile" dropping at over 200 feet per mile, Cherry Creek is possibly the most challenging whitewater rafting run in the nation.

The more popular section, the Main Tuolumne is a Class IV+ run (Class 5 above 5,000 cubic feet per second flows). It’s 18 miles long and can be run in one to three days. It is recommended that river runners read and watch widely about navigating the Tuolumne and plan enough time for scouting and difficulties while on the river.

Please note: Permits are requiredPrimary additional carry-in access from the South Fork of the Tuolumne River, Lumsden Bridge Campground and from the Clavey River (Class 5+).

Road Conditions/Closures can occur without notice; for current conditions call 209-962-7825.

Main Tuolumne Launch: Merals Pool Ramp

GPS-37.83669-1205317: on FS Road 1N10 (Lumsden Rd.), 5 miles east of Ferretti Rd.

Caution: FS Road 1N10 is a steep single dirt/gravel lane with occasional turn outs.

Main Tuolumne Take Out: Wards Ferry Bridge

GPS-37.87684-120.29537 : on Wards Ferry Rd. , drive 7.5 miles north from CA State Highway 120)

Caution: Wards Ferry Rd. becomes as steep one lane road with few turnouts

Cherry Creek Launch – Warning - This section is Class V+ to 6 (depending on flow) with one recommended portage. Flows can fluctuate rapidly, every day: Holms Powerhouse Ramp

GPS-37.88902-119.96760: on FS Road 1S23Y, adjacent to Andresen Trailhead and Holms Powerhouse. From Groveland, drive east to Cherry Lake Rd (FS Road 1N07), turn left and follow the signs to Early Intake. Drive across the Tuolumne (you can put in here if you want) and drive about a mile and turn left on FS Road 1S23Y.

Caution: FS Road 1S23Y is narrow and dead ends. Only one turnaround at the Launch – Do Not Block. And Keep Out of the Powerhouse facility.

Cherry Creek Take Out:

Merals Pool Ramp

GPS-37.83669-1205317: on FS Road 1N10 (Lumsden Rd.), 5 miles east of Ferretti Rd.

Caution: FS Road 1N10 is a steep single dirt/gravel lane with occasional turn outs. 

Notifications and Alerts

Permit & Season Information

A permit is required and authorizes:

Permit holder are required to:

Cell service is limited; power backup may be necessary to demonstrate proof of permit when stored on a device.

Permits are available for reservation beginning January 1st through 12 a.m. (midnight) the day prior to the trip.

Additional permit holder details:

Need to Know

You are responsible for knowing and abiding by all Forest Service rules and regulations.

NOTICE: Water Flows Are Minimized On Every Other Wednesday (150cfs - 400cfs). For Wednesday flow schedules Call 209-962-7825.

A permit is required and authorizes:

Permits are available online, only, at Recreation.gov – Visitors will be required to:

Permits are allocated on a first--come, first-serve basis; from January 1st through 12 a.m. (midnight) on the day prior to the desired launch.

A permit holder may hold no more than 4 launch date reservations at any one time.

A no-show may result in cancellation of all future reservations for that river season.

Permits are required to float the Tuolumne River anywhere below Holm and Kirkwood Powerhouses to the high water mark of Don Pedro reservoir between May 1st and October 15th each year.

Permits & Regulations

Fee Policy

Reservation Fee: There is a $6.00 non-refundable fee per reservation.

Recreation Fee: There is a $2.00 fee per person in your group. These fees are invested locally in maintenance of boat put-ins, trails along the river corridor, and camping sites.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy: Reservation fees are non-refundable. Recreation fees are refundable, when cancellation takes place 7 days or more before the launch date.

Change Policy: Changes to the permit may be made 7 days or more before the launch date. Changes include adding or reducing the number of people,subject to space availability. To change the start date, you must cancel and book a new permit; all fees apply.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

24545 Highway 120 Groveland CA 95321

Phone Number

(209) 962-7825

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