This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V+
Length 9 Miles
Gauge Tuolumne River Below Confluence with Cherry Creek
Flow Range 700 - 2500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 37 minutes ago 103.1 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/15/2013 2:35 am

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 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

Rapid Descriptions


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13 years ago

Anyone know the water level on that video? Its a great tool for a fun overview of the river.

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Matthew Urdan
19 years ago

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.

Gage Descriptions

Holm Powerhouse releases dependable flows into the river for much of the summer.  

Daily Flows Realtime Flows Dreamflows Home
Show 30 Days
Show 3 Years

If no graph appears above see  Dreamflows estimate of flow at Mushroom rapid.
For the planned annual release schedule visit the Tuolumne Release Schedule Page.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2006-06-26 n/a Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1992-06-06 Medium Fatality Other Read More




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Access Improvements - Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River (CA)


A new put-in launch has been constructed for the world class whitewater of Cherry Creek (Holm Powerhouse) on the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River. Funded by contributions from the U.S. Forest Service and private donations, Stanislaus National Forest River Ranger Bob Stanley spearheaded the design and construction of a slide/stairway to the river’s edge.

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5th Annual Paddle to the Sea with Tuolumne River Trust

Megan Hooker

This May and June join Paddle to the Sea – the Tuolumne River Trust’s popular paddle-a-thon where hundreds of river lovers and boating enthusiasts raft, canoe and kayak from the Sierra to San Francisco Bay. There is adventurous whitewater and mellow flat-water; fun one-day trips, or going the distance. Boaters of all skills and ages are encouraged to join.


Zachary W Collier


Chris Bell


Paul Martzen


Mark Singleton


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190119 03/12/09 Zachary W Collier n/a
1197944 07/14/10 Chris Bell Updated schedule link.
1197945 07/14/10 Chris Bell D'oh! Slight release schedule link text update.
1202923 12/10/13 Paul Martzen River closure
1202931 12/15/13 Mark Singleton remove closure