Tuolumne - 5) Below La Grange

Tuolumne, California, US


5) Below La Grange

Usual Difficulty I (for normal flows)
Length 19 Miles

Rest Stop

Rest Stop
Photo by Paul Martzen taken 11/08/06 @ 350

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-11289650 150 - 1000 cfs I 00h43m 219 cfs (running)

River Description

This valley section of the Tuolumne is scenic and an excellent beginner run. There is a salmon run in the fall season. The river is primarily flat, but there are many riffles, narrow channels and sharp turns. Those with even modest experience and caution will have an enjoyable time and want to return again and again.    The river does require minor maneuvering skill to avoid the occasional obstacle, but it is a very forgiving stretch of water.  There are no drops or abrupt changes except for the man-made debris pile in the center of the river which occurs a few hundred yards below the La Grange Dam. 

 From La Grange down to Basso bridge boat ramp, the river is generally wide with numerous small riffles and even a small ledge drop. Turns are all fairly gradual.

From Basso Bridge to Turlock Lake State Park, the river seems to alternate between flat wide slow water, and narrow channels that are fast and twisty. These twisty, fast channels are great fun for those with good boat control. Beginners, on the other hand, can find themselves swept into the bushes and tipped over.

Getting there:
From Highway 99 in Modesto, take Yosemite Blvd (highway 132) for 32 miles to La Grange. From the south take highway 99 to Merced, then follow J 59 north, 30 miles to La Grange.

Put-in: Old La Grange Bridge. From the junction of J59 (La Grange Rd.) and Yosemite Blvd, travel 1/2 mile east on Yosemite blvd into La Grange, then turn left onto Old La Grange Bridge road. There is plenty of space to park in about 200 yards.

Tuolumne River Trust
Salmon Viewing Canoe Trips
Turlock Lake State Park
Fish restoration information.
Friends of the Tuolumne
Stanislaus Bird information.

Old La Grange Bridge , mile 0 google map
River access on both north and south sides of the river.
37.6664, -120.4615
New La Grange Bridge, Mile .55
Riffle, Mile .77
Riffle, mile 2.30
Basso Bridge boat ramp, Mile 2.69  Parking, picnic areas and a boat ramp.
37.6471, -120.4943
Turlock Lake State Park Campgrounds, Mile 8.66 google map
Good river access at campgrounds. Fees: $20 for camping or $6.00 per car, day use.
37.6315, -120.5839
Roberts Ferry Road, Mile 10.71
Reported to be poor river access.
37.6362 , -120.6183
Oakdale Waterford Highway, Mile 19.0

Unknown river access options
37.6361 , -120.7585
Fox Grove River Access, Mile 24.44
Parking areas and boat ramps.
37.6193 , -120.8429

Similar River Sections:
American in Sacramento
Merced near Snelling
San Joaquin below Friant
Kings below Pine Flat
Kaweah near Woodlake

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-02-08 16:44:35


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Old La Grange BridgeN/APutin
2.6Basso Bridge: launch and picnic areaN/AAccess
8.3Weeping WallI
8.7Turlock Lake State Park CampgroundsAccess
24.4Fox Grove ParkAccess

Rapid Descriptions

Old La Grange Bridge (Class N/A)

You can park at either end of the bridge, but the south side is a bit easier to find and a shorter drive.   Drive into La Grange and turn onto Old La Grange Bridge Road.   The bridge is very close and there is a fair amount of parking space.   The carry down to the river is a bit steep but fairly short.

Basso Bridge: launch and picnic area (Class N/A, Mile 2.6)

There is a large parking area with picnic tables, boat ramp, and grassy areas at this park next to Basso bridge.   Turn off of Highway 132 just east of the bridge onto Lake Road.   Immedeately turn into the park. 

Weeping Wall (Class I, Mile 8.3)

The river narrows, picks up quite a bit of speed and heads straight at a tall bluff wall festooned with hanging ferns.   The current makes a sharp right turn and runs along the wall.  Several rocks have fallen off the wall, protrude from the water and create obstacles to be avoided. 

Turlock Lake State Park Campgrounds

The campgrounds down by the river are very pretty and provide a good take-out or river access point.    Talk to park personel about where to leave vehicles.  

Fox Grove Park

This looks to be a river access for power boats.  

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