Mono Creek - B) Vermillion Dam to Mono Diversion

Mono Creek, California, US


B) Vermillion Dam to Mono Diversion

Usual Difficulty IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 1.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 90 fpm

Mono creek 1

Mono creek 1
Photo by Paul Martzen

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Mono Creek Below Lake Edison
dream-491 150 - 500 cfs IV(V) 02h19m 170 cfs (running)

River Description

Getting there: From Fresno, take Highway 168 to Huntington Lake. Take Kaiser Pass road to Edison Reservoir. Vermillion Valley dam forms Edison reservoir. Highway 168 is excellent and fast. Kaiser Pass road is narrow, pot-holed and slow, but very scenic. From Fresno, figure 1.5 - 2 hours to Huntington Lake then another hour to Edison Lake.

Take-out: Drive into and through Mono Creek campgrounds to the lake access. Or just carry back upstream on fishermen trails. Probably easiest on river right.

Put-in: Drive towards the dam, turn left along the base of the dam, then look for where the water is released. Launch into the man made channel or further downstream into the natural channel.

Hazards: There is a steep rocky class 5 rapid where the man made channel ends and drops into the natural channel. Scout from either side, but the portage is easiest on the left. The natural channel is very nice technical class 3 or moderate class 4 for the remainder of the run. However, there are a lot of logs in or across the channel at this time. Most are passable, but it greatly adds to the risk factor. The whole run is easily scouted on foot.

Though this section of Mono is a long way to drive for a short paddle, it is a beautiful area, and it is running in August. There are many additional attractions in the area; wonderful hot springs, high quality scenery, rock climbing, backpacking and mt biking.

Elevations: Put-in is about 7485 feet and take-out is about 7340 feet for 90 to 100 feet per mile.

Camping: There is free camping in the area and in several spots along the creek. There is also developed camping for a fee at the small reservoir at the take-out. There is lodging, a restaurant, bar, and small store nearby at Vermillion Valley resort. Mono Hot Springs back down the road also has lodging, restaurant and store. There is no gasoline past Huntington Lake.

Google Earth has high resolution images of this section. It is not possible to discern the rapids, but the roads and access points are quite visible. (11-2005)

Feature by feature description:
Near the base of Edison dam the water is released from a gate house. A narrow man made channel extends approximately 350 yards (330 meters). This channel is flat and fast with a few small eddies.

At the end of this channel the water cascades down a Class 5 rock pile into the natural channel. One can scout on either side but portage is easiest on river left.

Once into the natural channel the rapids are continuous for 1/2 mile, though the gradient gradually eases.

At this point the creek flattens out while it makes a U-turn to the right. Fairly continuous rapids start again and lead to an island with log jams on both sides, forcing boaters to portage. Below this island, rapids continue another 200 yards to the lake.

Paul Martzen

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2008-12-27 02:30:08


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.

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