Fresno, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||46 fpm|
|R ABV HENLEY LAKE|
|cdec-FHL||300 - 1000 cfs||IV-V+||01h42m||48 cfs (too low)|
Put in: There no good parking near the Road 415 bridge, so you will probably have
to park back aways. Better to have a shuttle driver drop you off, if you can manage
that. You will also have to duck under fences to access the river here.
Take out: The Hensley Lake boat ramp and campground area is the only obvious public access. A bit of exploring might reveal access closer to the river inlet or along the river upstream, or not.
Season: Winter. The Fresno River has a low elevation drainage and so is only runnable during and after large rain storms. It will usually take several big storms in a row to get decent flows in this river.
Description: This section of the Fresno river was first run in the early or mid
1980's, by the Modesto crew of Royal Robbins, Chris Taylor and others. In the mid 1990's Richard
Penny and Bill Murphy also explored this section. Their reports are similar.
The run is said to be a lot of flat water interspersed with a number of unrunnable gorges. I think the unrunnable gorges were said to be boulder seives. The satelite view on the map tab, however, looks very intriguing. Unrunnable gorges ought to be pretty at least. The area is rolling foothills so portages might not be too bad.
Road 400 runs fairly close to the creek (on the east side) for much of the distance, and other county roads run fairly close on the west side in short sections. The parts of the river that are visible from the road are quite attractive and look like fun boating, so it may be worth a third look.
Put-in elevation: 1100 feet
Take-out elevation: 540 feet
Camping is available at Hensley Lake for $10 or so.
Stores and restaurants are in Madera or in Raymond, each about 20 minutes away.
Other links of possible interest:
Recreation.gov - Hensley Lake
Madera County website
East Side Streams Flood Frequency Evaluation