Sierra Mac – It was a dry winter – Updated April 2nd 2021
-Merced options are good to go until at least Mid-June, hopefully early July.
-Tuolumne is green lit thru Labor Day, mostly at regular releases. Unique options for April and early May trips.
-Upper Tuolumne is possible. We are exploring afternoon Launches for April and May. Memorial Day Thru Labor Day is a go.
This video gives a highlight reel of the rides we gave on the Rivers of Yosemite in 2019. More videos here.
As skiers know, Sierra snow can take many shapes. It can be light and powdery or heavily saturated and icy. This is why just measuring snow depth gives something of an incomplete picture. To accurately measure the amount of liquid water stored in a given expanse of snow surveyors use tools to assess an area’s snow water equivalence. This measurement provides a good indicator as to what kind of whitewater flows can be expected on California Rivers for the upcoming spring and summer rafting season.
Many factors including spring temperatures, capacity of upstream reservoirs, and additional precipitation that may arrive in late spring will have an effect on each river’s rafting conditions. With those factors in mind, we can make make a pretty educated guess at how flows will play out on Yosemite’s rivers for the year ahead. Given our past experience (over 50 years), we are making the following predictions for Yosemite river rafting in 2021:
Main Tuolumne Rafting Outlook
2021 Rafting trips on the Main Tuolumne. It has been drier than average for normal snowpack. April and May are in jeopardy of receiving flows from upstream reservoirs. Starting Memorial Day, flows will be ideal for summer rafting conditions expected to continue through early September. These consistent fine flows on the Main Tuolumne will make it the premier Sierra rafting trip in 2021.
Merced Rafting Outlook
Rafting on the Merced River. Flows are expected to climb and peak for several weeks sometime in early May. By early July, flows will drop down to un-boatable levels unless we get a miracle in April. Full-day and half-day Merced trips depart daily.
Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne Outlook
The first trip we are going to run is April 10th, though Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne trips have been in and out of the zone for the last few weeks.We expect to be able to run modified trips with the release of water in the afternoon. We have a good outlook for a long season as regular rafting flows are guaranteed Memorial Day thru Labor day.
Mid-April thru September is the most popular season for rafting in California. The consistent fair weather is perfect for beach camping and paddling rapids. Visitors to Yosemite are at their peak, and many choose to avoid the crowds and experience a part of the region that few get to see. Flows like this don’t happen every year, 2021 will be one to remember. The Merced, Main Tuolumne, and Cherry Creek – Upper Tuolumne corridors are natural wonders offering what many consider to be the best whitewater experiences in the state. Join us for a single or multi-day rafting adventure on one of the rivers of Yosemite.