US Whitewater > California > Big Creek



California whitewater, Big Creek

Mariposa county, Chowchilla Mountain Road to South Fork Merced River section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.


CLASS IV-V+     1 miles
  The average California whitewater rafting or kayaking river tends to be a bit harder to master than those in other states, so better not forget that the rivers in this state are less manageable. The scenic beauty of Mariposa County and the playfulness of the water attract people from near and far. The Chowchilla Mountain Road to South Fork Merced River section of Big Creek is 1 miles long and is rated by American Whitewater as a class IV-V+
    section. The starting point is not too far from Madera, please print out a copy of the road map further down the page so you wonít get lost. There are nice comfortable hotels here, but do book a room before you come because
it is a very popular destination. There are some good stretches to paddle in this river system, the Chowchilla Mountain Road to South Fork Merced River stretch is one of them. You can pitch a tent or park your RV at a nearby campground. You might be into whitewater rafting or kayaking or both, doesn't matter, this is an area with plenty of places for that. Getting some good exercise and a chance to spend some time outdoors will make you glad  
you came. This stretch is very short so you'll have to walk back to the start over and over. When you're paddling down a Central Sierra Nevada river like this one you always get great scenery along the way too.

Briefly about the general area:
Yosemite National Park is a nice local destination here at Big Creek, and folks from Yosemite National Park love to come here. Not enough hours in a day to enjoy the Central Sierra Nevada. If the weather is great here at Big Creek, you can go for a hike along the Pohono Trail, and you'll never forgive yourself if you donít go skiing at Badger Pass if you're here.

Big Creek, Chowchilla Mountain Road to South Fork Merced River road map
Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.


Detailed Map

Stats for this river stretch

Local weather forecast

These outdoors activities are available near Big Creek.
 Whitewater Near Big Creek:
Big Creek, Mariposa County, 1 miles away
      Class IV-V+ - 1 miles long (Chowchilla Mountain Road to South Fork Merced River)
Merced River, Mariposa County, 10 miles away
      Class V - 4.8 miles long (Routes 120-140 Junction to Arch Rock Entrance Station)
Fresno River, Madera County, 11 miles away
      Class III-V - 3 miles long (Goldside Drive off road 600 to Road 600)
Fresno River, Madera County, 12 miles away
      Class IV-V(V+) - 11 miles long (Road 600 to Road 415)
Merced River - South Fork, Mariposa County, 12 miles away
      Class III-IV - 7.4 miles long (Snyder Gulch to Route 140 Bridge)
Merced River, Mariposa County, 12 miles away
      Class II-V - 29 miles long (El Portal to Route 49 at Lake McClure)
Willow Creek, Madera County, 12 miles away
      Class V - 3 miles long (Greys Mt. Campground to Chilkoot Campground)
Willow Creek, Madera County, 13 miles away
      Class V - 3 miles long (Chilkoot Campground to Bass Lake)
Merced River, Mariposa County, 13 miles away
      Class IV - 17 miles long (Red Bud to Bagby Reservoir)
Merced River - South Fork, Mariposa County, 15 miles away
      Class V+ - 16 miles long (Upper)
 Ski Areas Near Big Creek:
Badger Pass, California , 7 miles away, 540 foot drop, 5 lifts, 10 runs
Sierra Summit, California , 39 miles away, 1679 foot drop, 11 lifts, 45 runs
Dodge Ridge, California , 41 miles away, 1600 foot drop, 10 lifts, 59 runs
June Mountain, California , 42 miles away, 2580 foot drop, 7 lifts, 37 runs
Mammoth Mountain, California , 46 miles away, 3100 foot drop, 27 lifts, 156 runs
Bear Valley, California , 59 miles away, 1900 foot drop, 11 lifts, 67 runs
Kirkwood, California , 69 miles away, 2000 foot drop, 15 lifts, 65 runs
Sierra at Tahoe, California , 75 miles away, 2212 foot drop, 12 lifts, 46 runs
Heavenly, California , 79 miles away, 3500 foot drop, 31 lifts, 94 runs
Homewood, California , 92 miles away, 1650 foot drop, 8 lifts, 56 runs
 Marinas Near Big Creek:
Pines Marina, Bass Lake , 14 miles away
 Hotels Near Big Creek:
Tin Lizzie Inn At Yosemite, Fish Camp , 3 miles away
Tenaya Lodge, Fish Camp , 3 miles away
Sierra Sky Ranch, An Ascend Hotel Collection Member, Oakhurst , 9 miles away
Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn, Oakhurst , 11 miles away
Comfort Inn Yosemite Area, Oakhurst , 11 miles away
 Campgrounds Near Big Creek:
Wawona Campground, Mariposa County, 1 miles away
Yosemite National Park - Wawona, Yosemite National Park, 1 miles away
Summit Campground, Mariposa County, 2 miles away
 Trails Near Big Creek:
Chilnualna Fall Trail, Mariposa , 3 miles away,  7 hiking miles, 2879 feet elevation difference
Pohono Trail, Mariposa , 10 miles away, 11.4 hiking miles, 3527 feet elevation difference
Mono Meadow Trail, Mariposa , 12 miles away,  5.2 hiking miles, 1019 feet elevation difference
El Capitan Trail, Mariposa , 12 miles away, 14.7 hiking miles, 4758 feet elevation difference
Buena Vista Trail, Madera , 12 miles away,  22.4 hiking miles, 2797 feet elevation difference
Panorama Trail, Mariposa , 13 miles away, 7.1 hiking miles, 3896 feet elevation difference
Four Mile Trail, Mariposa , 13 miles away, 3.7 hiking miles, 3869 feet elevation difference
 Public Lands Near Big Creek:
Yosemite National Park, Yosemite National Park - CA , 3 miles away
Devils Postpile National Monument, Mammoth Lakes - CA , 64 miles away
Sierra National Forest, California , 29 miles away
Millerton Lake State Park, California , 29 miles away
Stanislaus National Forest, California , 40 miles away
 Golf Courses Near Big Creek:
Ahwahnee Golf Course, Oakhurst , 10 miles away
River Creek Golf Course, Ahwahnee , 10 miles away
 Lakes Near Big Creek
Bare Island Lake, Madera , 12 miles away
Givens Lake, Madera , 14 miles away
Chiquito Lake, Madera , 16 miles away

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Some content, including Reach Name, Class, Coordinates, and Length, comes from American Whitewater with permission.