Mokelumne - 5) Electra to Middle Bar

Mokelumne, California, US


5) Electra to Middle Bar (Electra)

Usual Difficulty II-III (varies with level)
Length 5.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 24 fpm


Photo of Jeremy Lynn by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Mokelumne Below Electra Powerhouse
dream-388 400 - 4000 cfs II-III 03h16m 1013 cfs (running)
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River Description

The Electra Run is a wonderful class 2 section suitable for beginning white water boaters.   It has dependable summer flows and nice scenery.  The Electra Powerhouse usually runs for some portion of each day.  Maximum flow from the powerhouse is about 800 cfs.  Spring flows when upstream dams spill can be much higher.  The river is fairly narrow with lots of swiftwater, riffles and eddies.  There are only a few rapids harder than class 1, so it is popular with beginner boaters as well as floaters and swimmers.  There are many turnouts and swimming areas along the run.

Getting there:  This section of the Mokelumne crosses Highway 49 between the towns of Jackson and Mokelume Hill. Driving time is about an hour and ten minutes to an hour and a half from Stockton, Sacramento or Modesto.  There are a number of alternate routes from each direction so click on the directions tab and calculate the route from your zip code.

Put in:  From Highway 49 drive 3 miles up Electra Powerhouse Rd.  This road is paved, but narrow, old and heavily repaired.  The put in area is well marked and there is a large beach for launching boats and swimming.  The road continues anouther half mile to the powerhouse, but there is an old dam on the river in between.

Take out:  There are two common options.  At highway 49 there is a large parking area on river left, called Big Bar.  This take out makes for a short shuttle. and still gets most of the whitewater rapids.  The new option is to take out at Middle Bar which is two miles downstream.  From Electra Powerhouse Rd & Highway 49 drive north towards Jackson 2.2 miles.  Turn left onto Middle Bar Rd and drive 3 miles to the take out parking area.  Middle Bar Rd is paved but narrow, old and heavily repaired. Alot 10 or 12 minutes to go the 3 miles.

The opening of the Middle Bar Bridge take-out now makes the run from Electra Afterbay Dam to the bridge about 5 miles. This is a great Class-II reach with nearly dependable water in the summer due to peaking power generation. Getting this formerly restricted area open to boaters was a key focus for American Whitewater in the relicensing of the upstream PG&E Mokelumne hydropower project.

Annual Mokelumne River Races:
Each September since 1978, the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Paddlers has hosted slalom and downriver races on the Mokelumne.    The official race website is at:
To view a video of Sage Donnelly SUPing the Downriver Race see the link below:

Other Information Sources: 
Foothill Conservancy: Wild and Scenic possibilities for Mokelumne
Foothill Conservancy: Photos

BLM River Database
CA Hydro Power Reform Coalition: Mokelumne page

Schematic Map of Diversions and gauges


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-08-14 04:06:03


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put-inIPutin Photo
0.4Boulder BarIIPhoto
0.9Goal PostIIPhoto
2.949 Bridge / Big Bar Parking N/AAccess
3.1Devil's Toilet BowlIIIPhoto
5.5Middle Bar Take OutN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Put-in (Class I)

Mokelumne Put-in

Mokelumne Put-in
Photo by Evan Lloyd

This great beach is located just below the parking lot at the put in.  There is a large pool for practicing and warming up.  You can also paddle upstream quite a ways.

Boulder Bar (Class II, Mile 0.4)

Boulder Bar

Boulder Bar
Photo of Jeff by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

Fun bumpy water

Goal Post (Class II, Mile 0.9)

Goal Post

Goal Post
Photo by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

A long moderate rapid bends to the right, then back to the left.  This appears to be the site of the annual Moke river races, slalom course.

S-Turn (Class II+, Mile 2.6)


Photo of Jeremy Lynn by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

The river drops over a gravel bar, moves left, passes some large rocks (or holes at higher flows), then turns again to the right .

49 Bridge / Big Bar Parking (Class N/A, Mile 2.9)

There is a large parking area on river left just below the Highway 49 bridge.  There are two entrances, one on each side of 49, so you turn right no matter which way you are coming from. 

On the water, float under the bridge and look for take out options on the left.  There is a big beach just below a small rapid. 

Looks like there are trails down to Devil's Toilet Bowl rapid from here.  You could scout that rapid or even carry back to this parking area after running that rapid.

Devil's Toilet Bowl (Class III, Mile 3.1)

Devil's Toilet Bowl

Devil's Toilet Bowl
Photo by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

This is the biggest rapid on the run. It's II+ or III- depending on the flow.


Rapid (Class I, Mile 3.6)

There are several small rapids along this section down to Middle Bar.

Middle Bar Take Out (Class N/A, Mile 5.5)

Take out

Take out
Photo by Evan Lloyd taken 01/01/07 @ 750

Take out on river right about 100 yards before the bridge.  A trail leads up past some picnic tables, and across the road to a parking area with two pit toilets. 

At the bridge itself, there are chain link fences and no trespassing signs.

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Associated Rivers

Associated Projects

  • Mokelumne (CA)
    AW negotiated releases, access, and other previsions on the Mokelumne through a dam relicensing process.