ARTA River Trips - Image Art

The Tuolumne River

California's best river trip.

For right-brained people

whitewater rafting on the Tuolumne River near YosemiteThere’s a lot of whitewater on the Tuolumne, a whole lot. Over 40 named rapids in 18 miles and probably another 40 that would have names if they were anywhere else. In the early part of the season the rapids are big and fast and cold; we wear wetsuits and paddle furiously. Later in the summer, the rapids are tricky and frequent and the water is a bit warmer (and the air is hot); we wear sunscreen and laugh a lot. But there’s more than whitewater on the Tuolumne, a lot more. There are side streams with dreamy swimming holes - idyllic places with cool water to swim in, pebble beaches to bask on, waterfalls to swim behind and rocks to jump from, the kind of places you see in movies or read about in romantic novels. And we often get to camp near them so an afternoon hike is often as memorable as the rapids. The three day trips are almost too relaxing, perfect for those who need a break from pavement and schedules; the two day trips are well-paced, perfect for those who want two full days and one spectacular night; the one day trips are a bit rushed, perfect for those who have places to go and things to do. And the river is just outside Yosemite National Park, perfect for everyone.


"All of your guides were AMAZING. They: saved my life a hundred times over, were friendly without being fake, knew "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episodes and could recount them in great detail, did comedy routines from that Disney movie "Madagascar", and took us to some of the most beautiful places on earth. I mean, lots of people can make good food and I suppose lots of people know how to guide rafts down whitewater with a bunch of amateurs, but really, those guides you employ are what make your trips special. They were just wonderful, real people."

Laura Boles

For left-brained people:

  • The Tuolumne in one word:
  • World-class
  • In another word:
  • Heavenly
  • Best known for:
  • Whitewater & the road to put-in
  • No other trip has:
  • This many rapids
  • Expect to:
  • Not want to leave
  • You can also:
  • Visit Yosemite National Park
  • Signature Rapid:
  • Clavey Falls
  • Types of boats:
  • Oar, paddle and combo
  • Meeting Place:
  • Groveland, CA
  • Length in days: 1, 2 or 3
  • Length in miles: 18
  • Overall difficulty: IV
  • Highest difficulty (#): IV+ (1)
  • Rapids/day: ~ 15
  • Gradient: 38 feet/mile
  • Rapids:spacer5+ stars
  • Scenery:spacer5 stars
  • Wilderness: 5+ stars
  • Swimming:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Hiking:spacer3 1/2  stars
  • Campsites:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Wildlife:spacer2 1/2 stars
  • Fishing:spacer4 1/2 stars
  • Monkey Flower
    Common Monkey Flower -
    (Mimulus guttatus) – The fruit fly of posies, Monkey Flowers are a genomic parsimony model organism used in genetic and evolutionary research. More importantly, they are really pretty. They grow along streams, bloom all summer long and are easy to identify by the longer upper tooth on their angular calyx (and because they look like a monkey face).