|MEETING PLACE:||La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery 24000 Casa Loma Rd Groveland, CA 95321, 8 miles east of Groveland on Hwy 120 (At the eastern intersection of Hwy 120 & Ferretti Rd); 30 mins west of the Hwy 120, Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite NP.|
|MEETING TIME:||8:30 AM|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 6:00 PM|
|RIVER RATING:||Class IV(+) (Suitable for intermediate to advanced rafters)|
|RIVER MILES:||18 river miles, with 15 named rapids|
|TRIP LENGTH:||1 Day|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 14 (16 at high water)|
|BOAT OPTIONS:||Paddle raft, paddle raft with oar assist|
The number and variety of boats on an OARS trip will vary based on water levels, the number of participants and other factors we take into account when planning your adventure. Please be aware that in doing so we may ask you to share boat time with your fellow travelers. We can’t guarantee exactly which crafts we bring, but trust us to provide you with the best possible mix for you and others on your trip. The following boats may be a part of your experience:
Paddle Raft, Paddle Raft with Oar Assist
Learn more about the boats on your trip at: https://www.oars.com/experience/boats/
The water on the Tuolumne River is released from hydroelectric facilities located upstream. These water releases are solely controlled by the city of San Francisco and their Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; whitewater rafting companies have no influence in the schedule. It is important to understand that the water flow on the Tuolumne is directly related to the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada, as well as demand for water and hydropower.
To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/ or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
We will meet at the La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery, at the intersection of Highway 120 and Ferretti Road, eight miles east of Groveland and 30 minutes west of the Hwy 120, Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park. We will take a steep shuttle ride down to the river via Lumsden Road to our put-in, where you will meet the rest of your OARS crew. The guides will present an orientation and safety talk and fit you with your safety gear. Then, we’re off!
The Tuolumne is nearly consistent whitewater, with four exciting rapids in the first two miles: Rock Garden, Nemesis, Sunderlands Chute and Ram’s Head. Downstream, we encounter the ultimate thrill: Clavey Falls; this Class IV+ rapid features a series of staircase drops, which deliver unabashed excitement.
Come lunchtime, we’ll pull over to a sandy beach for a delicious picnic. Your guides might lay out an abundant spread of cold cuts, cheeses, veggies and breads, or perhaps a tasty taco salad for roll-your-own burritos. Lunch is always accompanied by fruit, cookies, cold water and lemonade.
The adventure continues with exciting Class III-IV rapids such as Grey’s Grindstone, Thread the Needle, and Hell’s Kitchen. Between rapids, you’re welcome to enjoy a refreshing swim in the calm stretches of cool water.
As we reach Ward’s Ferry and flat water, our river trip draws to a close. At the take-out, an OARS shuttle will be waiting to give you a ride back to your car. You will usually return around 6:00 PM.
- Skilled, professional guide service
- Delicious picnic lunch and snacks
- High-quality inflatable rafts and related river equipment including a paddle, helmet and a personal flotation device, which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with safety regulations
- Wetsuits and splash jackets. After June 1st, wetsuits and splash jackets are available by advance request only. (Wetsuits are only necessary on some early-season trips—generally from April to June.) It is important for you to advise the office of your size ahead of time to ensure we pack the proper-sized wetsuit for you. Our wetsuits do not include “wetsuit booties” – please bring your own, or wear wool socks with tennis shoes as a good alternative.
- Transfers from La Casa Loma River Store to the river and back
What’s Not Included?
- Transportation to the meeting place and back
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- River Access Fees
- Wetsuit booties
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Items of a personal nature
Meeting Place & Time
Our meeting place is the La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery, approximately 8 miles east of Groveland, at the eastern intersection of Ferretti Road and Highway 120 (30 minutes west of the Hwy 120 (west) entrance to Yosemite National Park). The meeting time is at 8:30 AM. Click here for a Google map.
Getting to La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery
La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery is on the left-hand (north) side of Hwy 120 at the eastern end of Ferretti Rd, approximately 8 miles east of Groveland and 30 minutes west of the Hwy 120 Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park. There is also a Ferretti Road in the town of Groveland just past the Groveland Wayside Park, marked with a flashing yellow light and sign. Do not turn here—this is the western end of Ferretti Road. (If you happen to enter Yosemite National Park, you have driven too far.)
If you are coming from Yosemite National Park, the La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery will be on the right-hand (north) side of Hwy 120. The meeting place is about 30 minutes west of the Hwy 120, Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park.
These following list of times are estimates. Please allow yourself extra time for the curving mountain roads.
Mileage and Driving Times
|Sacramento to Groveland||132 miles (2½ hours)|
|San Francisco Bay Area to Groveland||140 miles (3-4 hours)|
|Hwy 120 Big Oak Flat entrance of Yosemite NP to Meeting Place||17 miles (30 minutes)|
For those that are flying, we recommend the Sacramento (SMF) airport, which is served by most major airlines. A variety of car rental companies are available at the airport. Oakland (OAK) and San Francisco (SFO) are alternative airports with competitive fares.
Shuttle options from the three-closest major airports are prohibitively expensive. You will find that weekly car rentals are less expensive than most other travel options, even though your car remains at La Casa Loma River Store/Tangled Hearts Bakery while you are on the river.
By Bus or Train
Greyhound and Amtrak do not offer service to the Groveland area.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend that you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. (Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost.)
Yosemite National Park
- Murphey’s Hotel 800-334-6316
Other Camping Options
- Groveland Ranger District 209-962-7825
Weather & Water Conditions
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend you check the following web site for weather in Groveland, CA: www.weather.com
Average Air and Water Temperatures
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Water °F||Notes|
|April||60-70||35-40||44-46||Extremely variable weather; more wildlife & wildflowers|
|May||70-75||40-44||45-48||Chance of spring showers—but usually beautiful, sunny days|
|June||80-85||46-50||48-50||High-water time; rare rain-clouds|
|July||88-92||52-56||50-54||Hot, sunny days; perfect for swimming|
|Aug||88-92||52-56||54-58||Driest month; ideal for sleeping out under the stars|
|Sept||85-89||45-49||58-60||Warm summer temperatures start to cool down|
River Runners Responsibility Code
1. Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.
2. Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.
3. Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
4. Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.
5. Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.
6. Abide by the managing agency’s rules.
7. No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip.
8. Minimize your impact on the environment.
9. Wear the OARS-issued and properly–fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when in the boats or swimming. Wear a helmet when required.
10. Your children are your responsibility!
Essential Eligibility Criteria for River Trips
Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our essential eligibility requirements.
What To Bring
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/wear-bring-one-day-rafting-trip-oars/
The information below is subject to when your trip takes place. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.
The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
We recommend starting with a bathing suit/swim trunks and a lightweight synthetic shirt. For cool weather, add layers of synthetic long underwear and warmer clothes as needed.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously! In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs.
A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are also a must. Rheos, the official sunglasses sponsor of OARS guides, offers polarized floatable nautical eyewear with 100% UV protection. Use promo code OARS15 to save 15% on any purchase from The Nautical Eyewear Collection.
☐ Sunscreen & lip protection; waterproof and SPF 30 or higher
☐ Water bottle
☐ Face covering(s) for use while riding in shuttle vehicles and entering enclosed spaces
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ Shade hat/visor, flexible enough to wear under your helmet
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized such as Rheos floatable eyewear)
☐ Swimsuit; a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the restroom
☐ Shorts (long board shorts preferable for sun protection) and quick-drying top
☐ River/tennis shoes or river sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®)
☐ Synthetic long underwear for spring and early-summer trips
☐ Dry clothes and shoes to change into after your trip
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
- ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR CHANGING WEATHER! Especially during the months of April, May and early June, California can experience extreme changes in weather.
- Wearing cotton items on a river trip is only appropriate when the weather is hot. Wet cotton will chill your body temperature.
- Our wetsuits do not include “wetsuit booties”–please bring your own, or wear wool socks with tennis shoes as a good alternative.
Please let us know if you have any medical issues or dietary restrictions that we’ll need to consider in planning your trip.
We provide one small, shared waterproof bag (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter) per raft to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection.
There are several professional companies taking photos of each raft at some of the larger rapids, which provide great action shots. These companies are not affiliated with OARS You will need to contact them separately to purchase these pictures. ‘Picture This…Rapid Shooter’ is one such company; to view and purchase photos visit https://store.picthrive.com/oars after your river trip. You can also find pictures via www.rapidshooter.net and click the OARS logo link. Their phone number is (209) 379-2267. (To see your photos online, you must email ‘Picture This…Rapid Shooter’ and request that the photos from your trip be posted to their website. Picture requests can be sent to: email@example.com)
Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms online and submit them no later than 30 days prior to your trip, or immediately if booking within 30 days.
Final payment is due in our office 60 days prior to your trip. Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when payment is due.
We recommend that you leave your valuables at home or in your private vehicle and take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary. We also recommend you leave dry shoes and clothing in your car to ensure a comfortable drive home.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader in the form of cash, a personal check, or by mobile app (a “peer to peer” payment method such as Venmo, PayPal or similar) who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $1/person/day donation to Tuolumne River Trust, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the Tuolumne River through education, restoration projects and the advocacy for a healthy watershed. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to these environmental actions, and your contribution is tax-deductible. Visit www.tuolumne.org for more information. This donation is voluntary, and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office to delete the donation from your balance.
Gear up in the OARStore where 15% of all purchases help fund outdoor adventures for under-resourced youth
Shop for the latest in top-quality clothing, footwear & outdoor gear
Recommended Reading List
Watch our “What to Wear and Bring” video
Additional information about Yosemite
Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
Full payment is required at the time of booking. Payments may be made by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.
Cancelling your trip after your deposit has processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you.
Cancellations and Refunds
Your payment is fully refundable for 48 hours, less a 3% processing fee, after making a reservation when you reserve a trip 7 days or more prior to departure.
If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection below).
|Date of Cancellation||Cancellation Fee|
|60 or more days prior to your trip||$50 per person|
|59 days or less prior to your trip||Full Fare|
OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days prior to departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip. If a trip must be cancelled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd -party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers; however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a cancelled trip.
If you transfer from one trip to another within the same season, there is a $25/person fee up until 60 days prior to departure. You may choose to make a one-time transfer of your payments to a credit account for use during the following season, which also incurs a $25/person fee up until 60 days prior to departure. Transfers made after this time will be treated as cancellations.
Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation e-mail for details.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.
Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0 when getting a quote here:
Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.
Liability Release / Assumption of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release / assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. West, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, pandemics, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts and kayaks can capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. Upon advancement of deposit, the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.