Mokelumne - 4.2)Ponderosa Way to Electra Picnic area

Mokelumne, California, US


4.2)Ponderosa Way to Electra Picnic area

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 30 fpm

Bridge Rapid Entrance

Bridge Rapid Entrance
Photo by Mario Blackwell taken 06/03/16 @ 1100 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
cdec-M46 400 - 2000 cfs II-III 09h34m 115 cfs (too low)
Range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow paddlers by providing a comment or report.

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).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-06-03 23:03:11

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-9.4Gauge below Electra DiversionN/A
-2.9Middle Fork confluenceN/A
0.0Ponderosa WayN/APutin
0.1Bridge RapidIIIPhoto
0.5Rapid 2III
2.5Electra PowerhouseN/A
2.8Electra Afterbay DamN/APortage Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Gauge below Electra Diversion (Class N/A, Mile -9.4)

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 -2.9)

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)

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

Bridge Rapid (Class III, Mile 0.1)

Bridge Rapid Crux

Bridge Rapid Crux
Photo by Mario Blackwell taken 06/03/16 @ 1100 cfs

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)

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

Rapid (Class N/A, Mile 1.2)

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

Electra Powerhouse (Class N/A, Mile 2.5)

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

Electra Afterbay Dam (Class N/A, Mile 2.8)

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

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