Stanislaus, Middle Fork - 1. Kennedy Meadows to Clark's Fork Bridge

Stanislaus, Middle Fork, California, US


1. Kennedy Meadows to Clark's Fork Bridge (Dardanelles)

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 9 Miles

River Description

The Dardenelles section is very pretty with easy boating for the first half of its length. Two gorges just before and at the Highway 108 bridge must be portaged.   Below this bridge the river steepens to class 4  and the difficulty gradually increases to class 5 as it approaches the Clark's Fork bridge. Since the highway follows the river for most of the distance, boaters can pick and choose what sections to run. The first half of the section is generally meandering flat water or swift water with periodic small but interesting rapids. Shoreline brush or logs across the creek are the major potential hazards. The second half of the run, below the highway 108 bridge is solid class 4 and closer to class 5 as it nears the Clark's Fork bridge.

This is a beautiful area and it is worth spending time here for many more reasons than just the nice boating. 

Getting There:  This area is about an hour from Sonora on Highway 108. 

Take out:   There are a number of potential take out locations that suit different skill levels and ambitions.   By the time the river gets to the Clark's Fork bridge the difficulty is solid class 4 - 5 and is more in character with the downstream Donnells section.   Boaters looking for easy rapids should take out before the two gorges above the highway 120 bridge.    Scout suitable take-outs from the road. 

Put in:    Kennedy Meadows is the highest convenient put in.   You can usually drive past the store to unload gear at the river but you will need to park in the public areas near the store.   Those interested in class 4 - 5 whitewater will prefer launching below the highway 108 bridge where the river gets steeper.  

Other nearby river sections:
The Clark's Fork has also been run.
The Donnells section is immediately downstream.   It is an excellent class 4 to 5 section, which is very scenic.   The take out logistics and/or shuttle are very difficult however.  

Other Information Sources: 
Maasaki's California Whitewater Paddling  blog 
AW-PG&E flow page     Flow information is due to be reported in the coming years. 
1-866-629-3925 AW-PG&E Flow Phone


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-08-23 16:58:50

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-1.0Kennedy Meadow gauging stationN/A
6.0Second GorgeN/APortage

Rapid Descriptions

Kennedy Meadow gauging station (Class N/A, Mile -1.0)

Gauging station that will provide real time information starting in 2009.

Second Gorge (Class N/A, Mile 6.0)

This impressive gorge is a mandatory portage.   Hike up to the road on river right.   Walk across the highway bridge and head back down to the river from river left.

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