Upper tuolumne river rafting

Upper tuolumne river rafting
Video Upper tuolumne river rafting

Cherry Creek Rafting is the Ultimate!

Reserve space now for our 2023 rafting season.

Welcome to Class V Cherry Creek rafting, the ultimate whitewater challenge! Sierra Mac pioneered commercial Class V rafting trips on this stretch of river in the 70’s and 80’s, and we are excited to share these thrilling adventures with our guests. Cherry Creek rafting trips are intense and demanding passenger participation experiences, particularly on the paddle boats. Successful Class V navigation depends on a coordinated guide and paddling team. A training seminar and Class V paddler’s test are required for this thrill ride and are included at the beginning of the trip. Our experienced guides will coach you on the skills needed to negotiate Cherry Creek and the Upper Tuolumne before guiding you down this awesome section of river. For those who participate, the rewards are great. You’ll experience an exhilarating day of outdoor adventure like no other. View the Cherry Creek Rafting video below and take a look at our Class V Safety and Fitness Guidelines to get an idea of what to expect. Trips meet at 6:00 AM.

Located near the northwest border of Yosemite National Park, our Cherry Creek white water trip begins 2 miles upstream from its confluence with the Main Tuolumne. The excitement continues unbridled for a total of 9 miles to our take-out just above Lumsden Falls. This intense and demanding stretch of river is comprised of long, nearly continuous whitewater and only short pools. Her rapids are legendary. Among “The Creek’s” unparalleled array of chutes, holes, ledges and gigantic boulders lie Jawbone, Mushroom, Miracle Mile, Lewis’ Leap and Flat Rock Falls. Names you won’t soon forget. With a phenomenally steep gradient averaging 110 feet per mile, the Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne run is one of the most challenging (and fun) rafting trips in the U.S. and the standard by which Class V runs are measured. Experience the ultimate. You can read more about Cherry Creek-Upper Tuolumne rafting trips on our blog.

Make it an Overnight trip

Cherry Creek-Upper Tuolumne trips can be combined with our Main Tuolumne trips for a 2-day or 3-day adventure. Read more about Combination Rafting Trips.


Sierra Mac Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne rafting trips meet at Sierra Mac River Trips at Colfax Springs at 6:00 am (unless otherwise scheduled), 12.7 miles east of Groveland on Highway 120.

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Directions to Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne Rafting Trip Meeting Place Sierra Mac River Trips at Colfax Spring • 27890 CA HWY 120, Groveland, CA 95321

If coming from the west, after you pass Buck Meadows look for the Vista Point/Rim of the World overlook on your left, followed by Packard Canyon Road on your right. We are just beyond on the north (left) side of the road. If you are coming from the Yosemite area, we are about ½ mile beyond the Cherry Lake Road. Pay attention, our place comes up quickly! Driving time from the Bay Area is about 3 ½ hours; from Manteca, about 1 ½ hours; from Los Angeles, about 7 hours; and from Yosemite’s northwest entrance gate (Big Oak Flat), about 25 minutes. We can also arrange local pickups at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport for travelers arriving by private plane. Current local weather.

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Download printer friendly map & info sheet .pdf

Map to meeting spot for Cherry Creek/Upper Tuolumne rafting trips

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If you will NOT be available by phone before your trip, contact our office at 209-591-8027 within 48 hours of meeting time to reconfirm logistics.

Be on time or you may forfeit your trip! If you are late, call us ASAP at the above number. Cell phone coverage is spotty and unreliable along Highway 120. If you need to contact us you may have to stop and use a land line.

Internet mapping systems (Google, MapQuest, GPS) incorrectly locate our meeting place and often direct travelers to take much longer and circuitous routes. Reconfirm driving directions with a standard map from AAA or other source.

Please be on time! If you are delayed, please phone our office at (209) 591-8027.


Each Cherry Creek rafting trip begins with an energy breakfast, followed by wet suit, helmet and flotation vest fitting and an extensive white water seminar. This mandatory orientation includes training in swift water swimming, navigation and safety techniques. If, in our opinion, you are not ready for this rigorous experience following the training seminar, you will be asked to return to the shuttle van. (In this case you will receive a 50% refund.)

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Sierra Mac provides helmets in addition to white water flotation vests for Class V passengers. Wetsuits will be provided by Sierra Mac. High energy snacks and drinks are provided during the trip with a delicious dinner at trip’s end.


Wetsuit (mandatory) • Shorts and/or swimsuit under wetsuit • Synthetic T-shirt • Tennis shoes (sandals do not protect your feet) • Ball cap (optional) • Sunglasses (with tie-on) • Extra contacts (if necessary) • Wool/Neoprene Socks

Cool Weather River Attire

Wool, silk or synthetic layer under wetsuit • Rubber splash jacket (provided by SMRT) Wool or neoprene socks • hat or ball cap


For overnight trips, pack light and compactly. Each person will receive a 3.8 cubic foot dry bag for storing his or her belongings, about the size of a 30-gallon plastic trash bag.

Camping Gear (rentals available)

Sleeping bag • Air or foam mattress • Tent (optional) • Personal Gear • Comfortable clothing/layers • Underwear • Extra tennis shoes or sandals • Socks • Sweater and/or jacket • Towel • Toiletries, Kleenex, etc. • Flashlight (one for each person) • Flashlight batteries (packed separately) • Extra plastic bags • Day bag (Ziploc plastic) • Camera & film • Sunblock • Lip ointment • Plastic water bottle or canteen


Beer, wine, soft drinks or favorite evening libations (no glass except wine; we’ll pack these for you) • Fishing license and gear (hard shell case) • Snorkel & face mask • Reading material • Journal & pen • Cards or games • In April and May bring a rain jacket and pants.

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