In the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the 158-mile Tuolumne River descends from Mount Lyell and Mount Dana in Yosemite National Park, plunging through deep canyon walls and providing 27 miles of world-class whitewater for rafters and kayakers. The Tuolumne Watershed also offers a spectacular diversity of hikes in any season of the year, from multi-day wilderness adventures to short strolls and swimming holes.
Tuolumne Canyon from Lumsden Road.
One of the best ways to get to know the river is to join one of the Rafting Outfittersfor an unforgettable journey through the wilds of the Tuolumne River canyon.
Tuolumne River Trust staff and volunteers also regularly lead hikes throughout the watershed. Make sure to visit our Tuolumne River Trust events page to stay up to date on upcoming hikes.
Located in the headwaters of the ClaveyRiver, Bell Meadows is home to one of the largest quaking Aspen stands in the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range. A lovely trail winds its way through expansive aspen groves, huge granite boulders, and old growth forests. The trail crosses Bell Creek, which is a tributary to the Clavey. An autumn visit to Bell Meadows will reward one with brilliant displays of fall foliage.
John Muir Trail through LyellCanyon-
Explore the headwaters of the TuolumneRiver on this alpine hike through LyellCanyon. The trail is located in beautiful Tuolumne Meadows and passes through varied terrain including conifer forests and alpine meadows. The trail follows the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River where it passes over huge granite slabs and boulders. Views of high Sierra peaks and glaciers make thisa special hike.
Beautiful wildflowers and cooler temperatures make this a perfect spring outing. This strenuous hike begins above the river at Lumsden Road and winds its way down to the Tuolumne’s confluence with the Clavey River. A beach at the end of the trail provides the perfect spot to view the marvelous Clavey Falls.
A spectacularly sculpted granite swimming hole is reached after a short, but challenging ¾ mile scramble upstream from the Cottonwood bridge over the Clavey River.
Much of the Tuolumne watershed is prime habitat for poison oak and rattlesnakes. In the fierce summer heat, hikers should be well equipped with sun protection and plenty of water. When trip-planning, please remember to know and respect your limits. If you have questions about a trail or conditions, please feel free to call us at (209) 588-8636.