This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 3 Miles
Flow Range 400 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 4 hours ago 78 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 06/03/2016 11:03 pm

River Description

When this section has water, it makes a great addition to the Electra Run downstream, though with several class 3 rapids.  The biggest rapid is the very first one.  Because of the lack of regular high flows, trees and brush grow thick along the bank and sometimes out into the river bed.  At 1,500 cfs the river flows through trees on the side in many locations.

PG&E diverts most of the flow around this section so it will seldom have boatable flows.   Spring in wet years is the best time to check this section out.   There is also one weekend day per year of scheduled release for whitewater recreation in June of non spill years. 

Other Information Sources: 
Charles Martin describes this run in his 1974 guidebook, Sierra Whitewater.    He says the run is a good class 3.
Relicensing info  
Foothill Conservancy

FERC information:   
The entire upper Mokelumne Watershed PG&E hydroelectric system is under a single FERC license, number P-137       A new license was issued on October 11, 2001 and will expire in 30 years from that date. 

Text of whitewater boating monitoring plan.

During Below Normal, Above Normal, and Wet water years, the
stated fows of at least 900 cfs (700 cfs in BN years) will be released beginning two weeks prior
to Memorial Day weekend and ending June 15 and prior to the start of spill at Salt Springs
Reservoir Dam. ............ The Ponderosa Way whitewater
boating put-in will only have releases scheduled for one weekend day between 10 AM and 2 PM
(see Attachment B: Condition 28). The River Rangers will conduct the surveys each day the
flows are released. During Dry and Critically Dry years, flows will be released according to the
Below Normal year requirernents (700 cfs) if the Ecological Resource Committee (ERC) and the
FS determine that there would be no negative environmental impacts resulting from the
continued flows (see Attachment C: Condition 29).


Rapid Descriptions

Gauge below Electra Diversion

Class - N/A Mile - -9.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The online gauge for this reach is immediately below the diversion dam, so it only measures spills and required fish flows. Flows at Ponderosa Way could be somewhat to much higher than this reading.  The middle fork confluence is below this gauge, but above Ponderosa Way.

Middle Fork confluence

Class - N/A Mile - -2.89
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The middle fork confluence is upstream of the Ponderosa Way put in, so flows on this run will be increased by whatever flow is in the Middle Fork Moke.  Unfortunately, real time gauge information for the Middle Fork is not publicly available.

Ponderosa Way

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A high clearance vehicle makes it easier to get to this put in.

Bridge Rapid

Class - III Mile - 0.1

This is a two part rapid that starts about 100 yards after the put in.  The entrance was easy with a few moves throughout. We entered left moving center and exited left around a middle rock that have flipped both of my buddies, both sides of the middle rock are a go. Then some boogie water moving into the last drop. The last drop you can boof the hole on the left or a rock on the right. An easier route down the middle tongue is also an option. Nice recovery pool following this 2 part rapid However, a swim at the entrance will be long and bumpy. Scout right.

Rapid 2

Class - III Mile - 0.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This rapid starts when the river turns sharply to the left. 


Class - N/A Mile - 0.67
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 0.85
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 1.17
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

After a stretch of flatwater, the river turns to the right, then splits around an island.  The right hand channel appears to be wider.


Class - N/A Mile - 1.67
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - N/A Mile - 1.95
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Electra Powerhouse

Class - N/A Mile - 2.51
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The powerhouse is on river right and will add about 800 cfs.

Electra Afterbay Dam

Class - N/A Mile - 2.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The dam looks easiest to portage on river right.  Some boaters will run one of the slots, but the openings are very narrow.


Gage Descriptions

Boatable flows in this reach only occur during spill periods or scheduled releases.    Boating flows are scheduled for one weekend day a year in June. 

Minimum releases appear to be about 100 cfs. graphs      Show 30 Days                Show 3 Years

Historical flow data is available for this reach at USGS  11316700 .

Inflows from the middle fork and south fork also effect flows in this reach.  

EBMUD operates flow gages on the Middle and South Forks of the
Mokelumne River (USGS 11317000 and 11318500). Data from these gages could
help estimate the total flow in the Ponderosa Way run, if they were available in real time.

Schematic Map of Diversions and gauges

Directions Description

From Electra Road and Highway 49, drive south on 49 for 3.3 miles to the town of Mokelumne Hill. Turn left and head east on Highway 26 for 5.3 miles.  Turn left onto a dirt road which is probably not marked.  This is Ponderosa Way and it leads to the river in 1.9 miles.  There used to be a bridge across the river, but only a frame remains. 

Ponderosa Way on the north side of the river is reported to be impassable and so it does not reach the river. 

No Accident Reports



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Mokelumne River is a California State Wild and Scenic River!

Evan Stafford

Decades of home grown advocacy, including heavy lifting done by our colleagues at Foothill Conservancy and Friends of the River has finally resulted in the permanent protection of thirty-seven miles of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne River. Like the Federal Act upon which it was modeled, the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act affords, “certain rivers which possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values shall be preserved in their free-flowing state, together with their immediate environments for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the state.” 
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Wild and Scenic Study Report Released for Mokelumne (CA)

Megan Hooker

The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic Study Report. Recognizing the river's extraordinary scenic and recreational resources, the agency recommends that 37 miles be added to the California Wild and Scenic River System. The agency wants to hear from you about their recommendations by March 8th, and will hold a public hearing about the draft report on Thursday, February 15th in Mokelumne Hill.

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Mokelumne Releases for Spring 2012 (CA)

Theresa Simsiman

Mokelumne recreational releases, 2012  

PG&E will be releasing recreational flows on 4 weekends  into the Tiger Creek reach..


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PG&E Flows

ryan groth

Summary and collection of PG&E and AW resources and the latest in flow data for the website.


Paul Martzen


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1202829 11/06/13 Paul Martzen Remove incorrect gauge link
1206554 06/03/16 Paul Martzen Added rapids
1201867 02/22/13 Paul Martzen Corrected directions, corrected Putin/Take out
1202828 11/06/13 Paul Martzen update gauge
1200537 08/22/11 Paul Martzen flow phone link added
1194839 10/23/08 n/a n/a
1197609 05/04/10 Paul Martzen gauge & Flow edits