Hold onto your helmet. Thanks to a big winter in the Sierra, the Main Tuolumne will have absolutely ideal conditions for rafting this spring and summer. Water levels are expected to peak mid-May thru mid June and ramp down slowly with higher than average flows continuing into June, July and August. It has been over 20 years since California has experienced this kind of winter and we look forward to a spectacular season for our Yosemite rafting trips.
This sort of lingering high water season is the stuff rafting guides dream about. At any water level the Main Tuolumne is an exciting run, the rapids are full of surprises and command your full attention. At higher water levels the pace picks up, maneuvers must happen sooner and more quickly to keep up with the speed of the river. Rocks above the surface create passageways and staircases. Rocks under the surface create sparkling wave trains and hydraulics that explode into pure whitewater wonder. Adrenaline runs high and the rewards are great. It puts the whitewater back into whitewater rafting. You’ll find yourself filled with the exhilaration and pure joy that comes with paddling big water.
This year’s snowmelt in May and June will deliver true class V thrills on the Main Tuolumne. Rapids like Clavey Falls, Greys Grindstone, Nemesis, and Ram’s Head will be peaking with excitement. Participants on these trips need to be fit and prepared to paddle some challenging whitewater.
Later, as the water begins to gradually ramp down in late June, summer guests will also enjoy higher than average flows during the peak summer traveling season.
Even in the flat stretches the river is moving, tugging you round the next bend. One day trips can take a longer lunch stop. Two day trips arrive at camp sooner, with plenty of time to unwind and explore or maybe just catch a nap before dinner.
All of this adds up to 2017 being a truly unique year to experience the Main Tuolumne. If you have rafted the Main T only at lower water levels, this is the year to return and see the place in a whole new light. Have a taste of the champagne of California whitewater, we might not see the likes of this for another 20 years!