The Middle Fork of the San Joaquin is now getting boated by one to several groups a year in most years. It seems likely this incredible canyon will become steadily more popular. More and more of the drops are being run, but many portages are still necessary. The famous Crucible section is often paddled now, so that big portage has been eliminated by some groups.
Season: This reach must be boated as flows drop near the very end of the run off season. Often this will be in July. In wet years, the best boating levels could be in August. Put-in elevation: 7,545 feet (2300 meters) Take-out elevation: 3,330 feet (1,015 meters)+- (varies with elevation of Mammoth Pool) Google Earth has excellent hi resolution aerial images of much of this section.
Put in: It is not legal to paddle within Devils Postpile itself, so hike boats downstream on the trail to the monument boundary before launching.
Other Information Sources: Devil's Postpile Headquarters: 760-934-2289 <7 rivers Triple Crown story Wikipedia - Devil's Postpile Devil's Postpile Jefferson State Creeking Blog by Darin MquoidDevil's Postpile V-V+ (P) [Middle Fork San Joaquin] -Day One-Devil's Postpile V-V+ (P) [Middle Fork San Joaquin] -Day Two-Devil's Postpile V-V+ (P) [Middle Fork San Joaquin] -Day Three- A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHITEWATER IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, HOLBEK & STANLEY, 1988 Class: V-VI
A trail crosses the river here. A gauging station operated just upstream of the bridge into the 1980's.
USGS #11224000 streamgauge is now operating at the upstream end of Devil's Postpile Monument. Side streams will add flow over the entire distance of the run, so flows must be on the low side at the put in to insure they are not too high near the end of the section. In 2010, Kevin Smith reported a trip that "put on with 170 on the new DPP gauge and had a medium/high flow." It seems likely that the ratio between the put in flow and the take out flow will vary from year to year, especially between wet or dry years.
UC San Diego Scripps Institute maintains a weather station at Devil's Postpile for use in climate research. The gauge showed water height rather than cfs, but was nice the one year that it operated properly. Unfortunately there have been problems and the station has not been transmitting data properly. It has not provided online data for several years.
Dreamflows.com has estimated the daily average flow at Miller Crossing based on the flow records linked below. Miller Crossing is below the NF confluence, but above the SF confluence. Miller Crossing Map During most of the year this estimate will be very inaccurate because of the effects of rainfall and lower elevation tributaries. However, at the end of the snowmelt season in June, July or August as flows drop below 1,000 cfs, the estimate should generally be in the ballpark, or within a few hundred cfs. It may not be close enough to decide whether to boat or not, but it should be close enough to go look at the river and then decide whether to boat. The dreamflows estimate is based on records from two gauges. There was a gauge from 1921 to 1991 at Miller Crossing, and there is now a daily calculation of Millerton Full Natural Inflow. Comparing these two measurements during the years that have records for both, it appears that during the summer when flows at Miller's Crossing drop into a boatable range, those flows tend to be around 3/10 to 4/10 of the calculated flow at Millerton. The dreamflows calculation is a bit more precise.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The fastest way between Devil's Postpile and Mammoth Pool is over Tioga Pass through Yosemite, down Highway 41, turn off to the Bass Lake, then take Beasore Road to Grizzly Rd to Minarets and Mammoth Pool.
The map below shows driving through Bass Lake to North Fork and then up the Minarets/Mammoth Pool road. However, the Beasore route might save as much as 15 to 30 minutes. From Bass Lake, take Beasore Road (5S07) then Grizzly Road (6S01). A few miles before Minarets Rd, Grizzly Rd forks at a campground. The left fork (6S01) crosses a creek and turns to dirt. The right fork (6S71) is paved.
National park fees are required to pass through Yosemite and to enter Devils' Postpile Monument. One time permits are good for 7 days.
Campsite on the San Joaquin
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The U.S. Forest Service recently released the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Forest Plans (DFP) for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. As part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. To that end, American Whitewater has identified recreation as an outstandingly remarkable value on many iconic whitewater rivers within the Sierra and Sequoia National Forest and is advocating for their inclusion into the inventory of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. Dinkey Creek Photo by Daniel Lundberg
Good news from California! After the Inyo National Forest Plan Revision Objection Resolution meeting yesterday in Bishop California, the Deputy Regional Forester and the Inyo Forest Supervisor announced that they will add the segments of the Middle Fork San Joaquin that are on Inyo Forest land (11.5 miles) to the inventory of eligible wild and scenic rivers for the revised Inyo Forest Plan. They will also add whitewater boating as an outstandingly remarkable value (ORV). Specifically, the sections of the Middle Fork San Joaquin within the Inyo National Forest from Soda Springs footbridge to the confluence with the North Fork San Joaquin.
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