East Fork of the Carson River
Whitewater Rafting Through Two States!
The East Fork of the Carson River is one of the few rivers along the steep east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains suitable for commercial and private white water rafting. The stretch of river between Hangman's Bridge on California State Route 89 and Ruhenstroth Dam near U.S. Highway 395 runs 19.3 miles through alpine forests on its way to the high desert of western Nevada.
River boat access is provided at BLM's Hangman's Bridge put-in, located east of Markleeville, CA.
Experience Level: Practiced beginner to expert
Average Gradient: 25 feet/mile
International Scale: Level II-III at normal flows of 600-2,500 cfs; Level III-IV at higher (flood stages)
USGS Maps: Carter Station, CA/NV; 7.5' Series - Heenan Lake, CA., Markleeville, CA.
The East Fork of the Carson River flows through the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Bureau of Land Management public lands, and some private parcels. River recreation on the national forest and public lands are managed jointly by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management-Carson City District-Sierra Front Field Office.
Water flows determine when the river can be safely floated. The first few miles below Hangman's Bridge is usually swift in the late spring and early summer, forcing quick, tight turns. The canyon then widens and the rapids lessen. The remaining distance to the take-out (located just up river of Ruhenstroth Dam) is characterized by moderate riffles, ever-expanding vistas and beautiful scenery.
COMMERCIAL WHITEWATER COMPANIES must have operating permits to take customers on the East Fork of the Carson River. This program is administered by the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Please contact 775-331-6444.