Mokelumne, N. Fork - 2.2) Below Salt Springs Reservoir to Tiger Creek Afterbay

Mokelumne, N. Fork, California, US


2.2) Below Salt Springs Reservoir to Tiger Creek Afterbay (Devil's Nose)

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)
Length 15 Miles
Avg. Gradient 60 fpm
Max Gradient 110 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
cdec-M11 500 - 2000 cfs III-V 06h01m 51 cfs (too low)
cdec-M38 700 - 4000 cfs III-V 06h01m 393 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Mokelumne from Salt Springs dam to Tiger Creek powerhouse is a very scenic section of river that is slowly getting greater recognition with scheduled releases and dependable flow information.  The miles from Devil's Nose to Tiger Creek Powerhouse are compared to the most scenic runs in California. 

From the dam past Calaveras Dome, the river is very steep and congested as it drops through a terminal morraine.  Expect difficulty to be class 5 to class 6.   We have no information on boaters paddling in this section or any specific details.   From the campgrounds to the Bear River confluence there are a number of class 3 and 4 rapids and possibly a borderline class 5 rapid.   From Bear River down to Devil's Nose, the run is mostly class 2 and 3 with a few class 4 rapids.   Starting around Devils Nose the last few miles to the Tiger Creek powerhouse contain many class 5 rapids.   Many of the rapids are long and will require scouting.   Mokelumne Falls is a serious drop near the end with a committing rapid immediately upstream.  The very last obstacle is a gauging weir that is an easy portage. 

Scheduled boating releases occur on weekends in May of most years. 

Getting There:  The take out at Tiger Creek Powerhouse is about 20 miles or 30 minutes drive up Highway 88 from Jackson.  Coming from Sacramento, drive about an hour up highway 16 to Highway 49 to Jackson.   Take Highway 12 out of Lodi, or Highway 88 out of Stockton with similar distances and driving times.  Turn down Tiger Creek Road to the powerhouse. The drive between the take out and put in is about 21 miles on Tiger Creek road, but will take about an hour.   Alternatively you can drive back up to Highway 88, east to Ellis Road, then down Ellis Road to Tiger Creek Road.  Ellis road is not plowed in winter. 

Put In:   Boaters will normally launch at a developed put in just upstream of Mokelumne Campground.  Boaters can launch even further upstream since the road follows the river in this area.   Near Calaveras dome the gradient is steep and very bouldery with rapids of class 5 or harder difficulty.   Inspect the river carefully if you choose to launch higher than the normal put in.  

Take Out:   PG&E asks that boaters take out upstream of the powerhouse, on river right at a picnic area.  There should be a sign facing upstream warning boaters to take out.  From the picnic area it is a short level walk past the powerhouse, across the creek to the parking area.   Park in designated recreation spots near the powerhouse. 

Other information sources:
NF Mokelume (Devil's nose, IV-V) Blog by CA49rivers
Ca-Creeks NF Moke description
A Wet State, trip report
John Yost Trip Report part 1 in Ledger Dispatch
John Yost Trip Report part 2 in Ledger Dispatch
Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Martin 
Foothill Conservancy
El Dorado Nat. Forest 

FERC information: 
The entire upper Mokelumne Watershed PG&E hydroelectric system is under a single FERC license, number P-137       A new license was issued on October 11, 2001 and will expire in 30 years from that date. 

Text of whitewater boating monitoring plan.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-11-13 17:54:14

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
14.0Mokelumne FallsVPortage Hazard
14.7Gauging WeirN/APortage Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Mokelumne Falls (Class V, Mile 14.0)

Portage right or run the very right edge.   At high flows scout high on right from above previous rapid.  Both rapids run together at high flows.

Gauging Weir (Class N/A, Mile 14.7)

A low dam blocks the river.  Portage on river right.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 14 2003 (5698 days ago)
john almassyDetails
I just ran the devils nose at 600 and it is class V. Yes FIVE. And you cannot easily portage any
except the last rapid.