Tuolumne - 3) Cherry Creek to Meral's Pool


Tuolumne, California, US

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3) Cherry Creek to Meral's Pool (Cherry Creek)

Usual Difficulty IV-V+ (for normal flows)
Length 9 Miles
Avg. Gradient 110 fpm
Max Gradient 200 fpm

Lumsden Falls


Lumsden Falls
Photo of Kevin Gregerson by Brett Valle

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Tuolumne River Below Confluence with Cherry Creek
virtual-10553 700 - 2500 cfs IV-V+ 00h23m 4790 cfs (too high)


River Description

The Cherry Creek run of the Tuolumne has a number of big class 5 drops and many class 4+ and 5- rapids to keep first timers intimidated and old timers coming back.   The riverside scenery is excellent with lots of small granite cliffs and giant boulders along the river.  The forest is a mixture of pines and oak woodlands.   Beware that there is also plenty of poison oak.   

Cherry Creek may be the most popular class 5 whitewater in California because it receives dependable flows from Holm Powerhouse most of the summer and sometimes in the fall and winter.   Many people boat this reach week after week through the summer, learning every facet of every rapid. 

Near the end of the summer there is an annual but informal Cherry Creek downriver race and party.    Spectators and safety volunteers spread out along the race section and hotshots paddle as fast as they can down a section containing some of the major rapids.   Dates for the race are usually announced on Boof.com and other kayaking websites and email lists. 

Put in: Holm Powerhouse google map.    Boaters usually gather up off the main highway at Casa Loma to carpool and coordinate shuttles.

Take out: Lumsden Bridge is the first possible take out and the most commonly used one. google map. Boaters can also continue downstream to Meral's Pool by Lumsden Campground.

Good rapid by rapid video of Cherry Creek on you tube.



Groveland Ranger Station: (209) 962-7825


Cassady & Calhoun, Holbek & Stanley, Martin


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-12-15 02:35:02

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
March 9 2011 (2327 days ago)
Paul MartzenDetails
As of early March 2011, Lumsden Road is closed due to a landslide approximately 4.4 miles from the
intersection of Lumsden Road and Ferretti Road. Don't know how long it will take to get the road
cleared and repaired. For more info call the Groveland Ranger District at 209.962.7825
May 17 2007 (3719 days ago)
aviyaker (5967)
Anyone know the water level on that video? Its a great tool for a fun overview of the river.
October 19 2000 (6120 days ago)
Matthew UrdanDetails
Revised Gauge description...currently experiencing technical difficulties: Cherry Creek is
considered unrunnable at high water levels. Do not attempt Cherry Creek above 2000 cfs. During
higher flow levels, Cherry Creek should only be attempted by individuals with extensive Class V
experience and the highest whitewater skill-set. Commercial rafting begins in early-mid July when
flows decrease to approximately 1100-1400 cfs. At this level, Cherry Creek is a steep, rushing
torrent of non-stop Class IV-V+ Rapids. Commercial rafting continues into late summer and ends when
flows decrease below approximately 700-800 cfs.


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