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The following Tuolumne river whitewater rafting trip information should answer your logistical questions. If you still have questions after reviewing this material, please feel free to contact us.
Our meeting place for all Tuolumne river rafting trips is La Casa Loma Store, seven miles East of Groveland. From Groveland, drive East to Ferretti Rd. (Careful! Ferretti Rd. also joins Highway 120 just outside the town of Groveland. Drive the full seven miles from the Groveland city limit to the correct Ferretti Rd. exit). Turn left on Ferretti Rd. and then left again to get to the store. La Casa Loma store can be seen from Highway 120 but is located about 100 yards off the highway. Your car will be parked at the store for the duration of the trip and the river shuttle service will transport you to the river and back to your car at the end of the trip.
Please refer to your Trip Confirmation for the specific meeting time, which can vary between 8:00 AM to 9:00 a.m., depending on the trip. Our bus leaves about 15 minutes after the meeting time, so if you are late you might miss the trip. Please allow yourselves enough time to arrive to our meeting spot at or before the meeting time. Sorry, but there can be no refunds for guests who miss the trip.
Groveland, the nearest town to our meeting place is on Highway 120. From Sacramento (driving time 3 hours), take Highway 99 South to Manteca. Go East on Highway 120, through Oakdale and Chinese Camp to Groveland.
From Los Angeles (driving time 6 hours), take Highway 99 North to Merced. At the Northern end of Merced, take Highway J59 towards Sonora. Stay on J59 until you reach Highway 132, turn right to Coulterville. At Coulterville, Highway 132 ends at Highway 49. Turn left on Highway 49, 50 yards, then turn right on Highway J20 to Greely Hill. Follow J20 past Greely Hill to Highway 120. Turn right on Highway 120, about 1/2 mile to Ferretti Rd., turn left.
From the San Francisco Bay Area (driving time 3 1/2 hours), take Highway 580 East to 280 East to Manteca. Follow Highway 120 through Oakdale and Chinese Camp to Groveland.
The closest major airports are San Francisco and Oakland. You will need to rent a car and drive approximately 2 1/2 hours to our meeting place. For private planes, Pine Mountain Lake Airport is near our trip meeting place. Airport pickup is available by prior arrangement.
- Hotel Charlotte – Downtown Groveland, with cozy rooms, good food & spirits. Located across the street from the famous Iron Door Saloon and just 7 miles from the Casa Loma meeting location. Rental houses available sleeping up to 16 people. (209) 962-6455
- Berkshire Bed & Breakfast – 19959 Hwy 120, Groveland (209) 962-6744
- Groveland Hotel – Downtown Groveland, with an excellent restaurant. (209) 962-4000
- Yosemite Westgate Motel – Buck Meadows, 5 minutes from our meeting spot.
- Yosemite Rose B&B – A wonderful country bed and breakfast only minutes from La Casa Loma Store.
- Blackberry Inn B&B – A nice bed and breakfast in Buck Meadows
- The Evergreen Lodge – a wonderfully historic lodge with cabins and restaurant approx. 45 minutes from our meeting spot. Historic and scenic, located midway between our Tuolumne and Merced river meeting spots.
- Yosemite Ridge Resort is a 43 acre facility featuring cabin rentals, full hookup RV spaces, restaurant, general store, gasoline, propane and laundromat all on site. Located in Buck Meadows, about 4 miles east of Casa Loma on Hwy. 120, and very convenient to our Tuolumne meeting spot at La Casa Loma.
Additional lodging is available in Sonora, approximately one hour from our meeting spot. If you are having trouble finding lodging, please call our office, we will be happy to assist you.
There are three US Forest Service campgrounds, some with group sites available, near La Casa Loma Store. The closest campground is The Pines, and 2004 camping fees are $12.00 per person. Call the Groveland Ranger District at (209) 962-7825 for information or (209) 379-2402 for group reservations. Another option is Moccasin Point Camp on Hwy 120, about 45 minutes from our meeting spot. Call (209) 852-2396 for information.
Food & Beverage
Breakfast the morning of your trip is your responsibility. We provide all meals on the river, starting with lunch the first day and ending with lunch on the last day. One-day trips (April) serve lunch only. We provide wine with dinner, as well as various juices, coffee, hot chocolate and limited soft drinks and beer. On some trips we can provide extra coolers if you wish to bring along your own extra beer. No alcohol on the river, please.
As a service to our clients, Zephyr provides wet suits and paddle jackets free of charge. Wetsuits are recommended on all trips through about mid June, depending on previous winter snowpack. The wetsuits are designed for whitewater rafting, and are very comfortable. The suit is a full-length “farmer-john” style, with sleeveless tops. We also provide an optional nylon paddle jacket which can be worn over the suit when necessary. You are welcome to provide your own suit if you wish. You do not need to make any advanced reservations for your suit unless you have special size considerations.
Zephyr has a limited supply of sleeping packages available for rent. Each package contains a sleeping bag, sheet liner, therma-rest pad and ground cover. The packages rent for $25 per trip.
On the river we camp at unimproved riverside sites. To protect the river environment we carry out all trash and are careful not to pollute the river. Our guides will instruct you on washing and sanitation procedures for using our portable toilet facilities. We ask that you cooperate by following these procedures to minimize our impact on the river and canyon.
Packing for Overnight Trips
When you arrive at La Casa Loma, your head guide will give you waterproof bags for packing your gear. You will have your own waterproof bags for the duration of the trip. Please pack lightly, as you will be packing everything you bring on the river into these waterproof bags. Gear packed in waterproof bags will not be accessible during the day. For small items that you wish to use during the day (sunscreen, lip ointment, cameras, etc.), we suggest putting them in a plastic ziplock bag, which we can place in waterproof day bags.
If your camera is small and inexpensive, a large ziplock bag will give sufficient protection. More expensive cameras can be protected by a waterproof “sports pouch” available at sports stores. Camera insurance is recommended.
What to Bring
Visit our friends at Sierra Nevada Adventure Company for all your river equipment needs. They have an outlet in Sonora, but you can also visit and order from them online.
On the river
- Shorts/swim suit
- Tennis shoes or river sandals
- Sunglasses with tie-on
- Camera (see above)
- Light Windbreaker
- T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt
- Hat/Visor. Note: You will be wearing a helmet, and you should bring along a baseball style hat which can be worn underneath your helmet. Most other hat styles other than a baseball style hat will not work underneath your helmet.
- Dry shoes & socks
- Sleeping Bag
- Sweater or Jacket
- Ground cloth, pad or air mattress
- Comfortable clothes for camp
- Toiletries & medications
- Clean set of clothes to leave in your car for the drive home
- Fishing gear with license
- Books, games
- Extra beer or soft drinks
- Rain Gear
Cool weather items
- Polypro or wool long underwear
- Wool or pile pants
- Tent, Rain Gear
- Wool or polypro sweater/jacket
- Wool hat & gloves
- Wetsuit & booties
During the summer months you can expect hot days (often reaching into the 90s) and warm nights (usually in the 60s). Spring and Fall weather is usually excellent (daytime temperatures range from the 60s to 80s). Rain showers can occasionally occur. Feel free to call us for the latest weather forecast.