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Difficulty III-V
Length 15 Miles
Flow Range 700 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 4 hours ago 49 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 11/13/2013 5:54 pm

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.

Rapid Descriptions

Mokelumne Falls

Class - V Mile - 14
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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


default user thumbnail
john almassy
17 years ago

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.

Gage Descriptions

Runnable range is estimated to be 600-4000.   However, flows above 2000 may be more serious than most want to contend with.   Brasuell reports that flows in the 600 to 800 range are very low but still fun and mostly class 4ish.   These flow numbers will be updated as we get more information. 

Flows occur during winter and spring spills and during scheduled boating releases on weekends in May of most years. 
Salt Springs Reservoir CDEC page.    Daily storage graph    Maximum storage is 141,900 ac-ft.  

USGS basin Schematic pdf  shows all the dams, diversions and gauging stations on the Mokelumne.

Some historical flow information is available for these locations: 

NF Mokelumne below Salt Springs Res.   USGS #113145 
Bear River below Bear Diversion Dam.     USGS #113161  
Bear River below Lower Bear Reservoir.   USGS #113159

Sierra Snow Pack Graphs  provide an overview of regional snow pack.  The Mokelumne is in the middle region.

Directions Description

The map displayed below directs people back up to Highway 88 which is at least paved.  Expect driving time to be an hour or more. 

Alternatively take Tiger Creek Road to Salt Springs Road which parallels the river.    Driving time will still be about an hour, but the actual distance is shorter.   See this goople map of Tiger Creek Powerhouse to Mokelumne River Campground

Check with El Dorado Nat. Forest, Amador District for any road closures in the Salt Springs area. 


No Accident Reports



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Mokelumne River is a California State Wild and Scenic River!

Evan Stafford

Decades of home grown advocacy, including heavy lifting done by our colleagues at Foothill Conservancy and Friends of the River has finally resulted in the permanent protection of thirty-seven miles of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne River. Like the Federal Act upon which it was modeled, the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act affords, “certain rivers which possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values shall be preserved in their free-flowing state, together with their immediate environments for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the state.” 
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Wild and Scenic Study Report Released for Mokelumne (CA)

Megan Hooker

The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic Study Report. Recognizing the river's extraordinary scenic and recreational resources, the agency recommends that 37 miles be added to the California Wild and Scenic River System. The agency wants to hear from you about their recommendations by March 8th, and will hold a public hearing about the draft report on Thursday, February 15th in Mokelumne Hill.

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Mokelumne River - 2017 Recreational Flows (CA)

Theresa Simsiman

American Whitewater has been helping to implement negotiated recreational flows on the Mokelumne River for over 15 years. This year’s record water year poses some challenges on roads across California that were washed out due to winter storms. It is no different on the Mokelumne watershed. However, we still have opportunities to paddle!
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Mokelumne Releases for Spring 2012 (CA)

Theresa Simsiman

Mokelumne recreational releases, 2012  

PG&E will be releasing recreational flows on 4 weekends  into the Tiger Creek reach..


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PG&E Flows

ryan groth

Summary and collection of PG&E and AW resources and the latest in flow data for the website.

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New Mokelumne Website/Flow Phone

Risa Shimoda

AW and PG&E have created a new flow information website and flow phone for four different sections of the Mokelumne River. Realtime updates, daily updates, weekend forecasts, and a long-range forecast of never before published gauges give you all the beta you need.

Paul Martzen


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1200535 08/22/11 Paul Martzen flow phone link added
1202839 11/13/13 Paul Martzen update gauge
1199706 03/26/11 Paul Martzen updated directions and some descriptions
1199707 03/26/11 Paul Martzen typo fixes
1199708 03/26/11 Paul Martzen added links
1199709 03/27/11 Paul Martzen added links
1195536 06/23/09 Paul Martzen
1198411 10/18/10 Paul Martzen added historical flow links
1198473 10/26/10 Paul Martzen link to gauge on tributary
1190048 05/07/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1195535 06/23/09 Paul Martzen