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The Mokelumne River is a river in Northern California. The Upper Mokelumne River originates in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and flows into Camanchemarker Reservoir in the Sierra foothills. The Lower Mokelumne River refers to the portion of the river below Camanche Dam. It crosses Californiamarker's Central Valleymarker, flowing westward through Lodi, Californiamarker, and ultimately meeting its confluence with the San Joaquin River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Deltamarker. The river crosses or forms the border of four California counties: Amadormarker, Calaverasmarker, San Joaquin, and Sacramentomarker.

The name, , is Plains Miwok and is constructed from moke, meaning fishnet, and -umne, a suffix meaning "people of". However, the more common English pronunciation, at least in the area, is . The town of Mokelumne Hillmarker was named for the river in about 1850.

Recreational uses

The Mokelumne River is home to five notable Whitewater Kayak runs: Fantasy Falls, Devil's Nose, Tiger Creek Dam, Ponderosa and Electra-Middle Bar. Fantasy Falls, a Class V+, 26-mile wilderness reach, runs from below Highway 4 in Alpine County to the backwaters of Salt Springs Reservoir. Devil's Nose, Class IV-V, runs 17 miles from Salt Springs Dams to Tiger Creek Powerhouse. Below Tiger Creek Dam is the Tiger Creek Dam Whitewater run, a scenic, 3 mile Class IV run. The Ponderosa run goes from Ponderosa Way to Electra Powerhouse. The westernmost run is Electra-Middle Bar, a 5+-mile Class II-III run. It begins just below the Electra Powerhouse and ends at the Middle Bar Bridge.

The Mokelumne is also a popular site for fishing, camping, water play, birding, picnics, gold panning, spring wildflower watching, and other activities. Electra Road, just east of Highway 49, is a popular place to run, walk, and enjoy the river. The large granite domes, Calaveras Dome and Hammer Dome, near Salt Springs Reservoir, are popular for technical rock climbing. Three campgrounds are also located near Salt Springs: Mokelumne River, White Azalea, and Moore Creek.

Above Salt Springs Reservoir, the Mokelumne Wilderness challenges those who seek a true wilderness experience. Backpacking in this federally designated wilderness area requires good back-country skills.


The East Bay Municipal Utility Districtmarker has included an optional expansion of Pardee Reservoir in its [152059] 2040 water plan. The expansion could drown more than a mile of the river as well as unique cultural and historic sites. Local governments, conservation, recreation and fish advocates oppose the reservoir expansion.


See also


  1. Bright, William (1998). 1500 California Place Names: their origin and meaning. University of California Press; Berkeley, California, 1998. ISBN: .

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