Fresno, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
|FRESNO R ABV HENLEY LAKE|
|cdec-FHL||300 - 1500 cfs||IV-V(V+)||01h06m||17 cfs (too low)|
This is a very beautiful, interesting and cool run. It has almost everything; sections of
continuous class 4 rapids, a granite gorge with class 5 drops and then class 5+ drops, a few
waterfalls, a short slot canyon (with unrunnable entrance, unfortunately), sections of pastoral
calmness, historic remains of a flume, a road and buildings, and even nasty cursing landowners at
one spot! What more could you ask for?
Put-in: From Oakhurst, drive north on Highway 49 a few miles to the Raymond Rd. Turn left and drive till you first see the river.
Take-out: From Coursegold, take Road 415 till it crosses the river. Parking is a problem in this area, so you will have to park a ways back from the bridge somewhere, or have someone pick you up.
Season: Winter. The Fresno River has a low elevation drainage and so is only
runnable in the winter during and after large rain storms. It will usually take
several big storms in a row to get decent flows in this river.
Land owners: There are many houses near the end of the trip, but everyone we saw in that section waved at us. About in the middle of the trip, though, we came to a road fording the river with a barn on one side and a house and other structures on the other side. A group of people saw us and cursed at us. We hurried on our way. Other boaters have had similar unpleasant encounters with this family. This article on navigable rivers is probably pertinent.
This is a very high quality section of river. It is very much worth paddling if you can catch it.
Water quality will be poor as it is rain runoff from a populated and developed region.