Tuolumne River Rafting

Main Tuolumne River Rafting Trips | White Water Rafting California

Location: Groveland, CA

Season: April-October

Level: Beginner – Experienced

Min Age: 10+ years old (depending on the water levels)

Duration: 1, 2 and 3 day trip options

Swimming skills required

The Tuolumne (pronounced “Too-WAL-oo-mm-nee;”) has long been considered California’s premier Class IV+ whitewater river. Flowing from Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite’s high country, the Tuolumne River creates the “Grand Canyon” of Yosemite as it spills into the Hetch Hetchy Valley behind the O’Shaughnessy Dam above our put-in at Meral’s Pool. On its way, the Tuolumne races through deep granite canyons, creating some of the most exciting rapids and breathtaking scenery of the entire region! Trips meet 15 miles east of Groveland, about 1 hour west of Yosemite Valley.

Step up to the exciting thrills of Class IV+ whitewater! Participants should be in good physical condition and bring along an adventurous spirit. The river starts right out with a series of Class IV rapids with chutes, steep drops, holes, and reversals to keep us on our toes. Tight, technical, and steep describes rapids like Rock Garden, Sunderland’s Chute, and Ram’s Head, leading up to legendary Class V Clavey Falls! This dramatic staircase rapid takes us through two big drops and, hopefully, around a boat-eating hole and away from the left wall – enough exciting, adrenaline rush adventure for anyone! The river continues on another 12+ miles through the pristine forest/canyon land and many more Class III, IV, and IV+ rapids before reaching our take out at Ward’s Ferry.

Access to the canyon is limited. For 18 miles the Main Tuolumne is untouched by roads with only a few remote trails along its route, adding to its wild and scenic wonder. The isolated Tuolumne River is home to abundant wildlife, and the river itself offers excellent fishing for rainbow and brown trout. Eagles and hawks circle overhead. If we’re lucky, we might spot a visiting bobcat or raccoon along its banks. We feel the serenity of the wilderness canyon as well as the excitement of great rapids for a complete whitewater wilderness adventure! Although the river’s 18 miles can be paddled in a single day, most break the trip up into two days. Spending a night at one of the Tuolumne’s pristine camps is an experience to remember.

A trusted, associated rafting company operates these trips.

The Tuolumne River is done as a one day trip only in early spring and late summer/fall. We run all 18 miles of the Tuolumne in one day as there is only one place to put-in and one take-out area. Rafters need to be adventuresome and in good condition with prior rafting experience. Our day is long and full from the moment of meeting in the morning until we return to our cars around 6:00 PM.

Trip Highlights

  • Great guides: skilled and ready to provide a safe and fun outdoor adventure

  • Exciting Whitewater: perfect for the experienced paddler, as well as adventurous first-timers

  • The famous Class V Clavey Falls: a thrilling adrenaline rush whitewater ride you won’t forget

  • A delightful riverside lunch served by our guide/chefs as we relax and enjoy time on shore

  • A full day of fun, relaxation, and excitement in a wild and scenic river canyon

  • Exciting wildlife and spectacular mountain vistas to savor and enjoy

Experience the thrill of great rapids with time to enjoy the serenity of a wilderness canyon. We meet early on the first morning of your trip at our outfitter’s meeting place on Highway 120 near Groveland, 1 hour west of Yosemite National Park. The drive to our put-in takes us deep into the canyon on narrow back roads–an exciting adventure in itself! We meet our guides and boats, don wetsuits if needed for protection and comfort, stow our gear in waterproof dry bags in the oar boat, and head for the river in paddle boats–usually six paddlers plus your guide to a boat. We raft the upper section of the Main Tuolumne, scout and run Clavey Falls, and make camp below the falls for a well-deserved evening on the river where we rest and play while our guides prepare a wonderful dinner and campfire.

On the morning of day 2, we usually have time for a hike up Clavey Creek before setting out on the day’s exciting Class IV+ run, stopping for lunch on the river bank. We take out at Ward’s Ferry in mid-afternoon and shuttle back to La Casa Loma and your cars by around 5:00 PM.

Trip Highlights

  • Capable, experienced guides: skilled and ready to provide a safe and fun outdoor adventure

  • Meeting spot is 1-hour from Yosemite Valley

  • Perfect for the experienced or novice paddler looking for a multi-day wilderness rafting trip

  • The famous Class V Clavey Falls, an exciting adrenaline rush whitewater ride

  • Many more Class IV-V rapids, including Sunderland’s Chute, Ram’s Head, and Nemesis

  • Delicious meals prepared by our guides at lunch beaches and our secluded overnight camp

  • Exciting wildlife and spectacular mountain vistas to savor and enjoy

  • Two days of fun, relaxation, and excitement in a beautiful and remote river canyon

Take the time to truly enjoy the wild and scenic Tuolumne with an extra day on the river to hike, fish, relax and fully experience this extraordinary wilderness canyon. We raft the river with time to experience and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the river. Our camp is usually just below Clavey Falls, a wonderful area for hikes, fishing, and just relaxing in the “middle of nowhere” on our extra day in the canyon. We return to our cars around 4:00 to 5:00 PM on the third day, rested and refreshed from a true wilderness experience.


With over 25 years of running the highest quality rafting trips and river tours, Raft California invites you to join us on one of our spectacular rafting adventures!

We have whitewater rafting trips on over 12 rivers in Northern California, Oregon, and into Nevada! Rivers include the South Fork American, Middle Fork American, North Fork American, North Yuba, Truckee, Tuolumne, Kaweah and more!.

Raft California
6500 State Highway 49
Lotus, CA 95651-9764
(530) 626-7385