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North Fork Mokelumne River


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From its sources in the Sierra's Mokelumne and Carson-Iceberg Wilderness areas, the North Fork Mokelumne flows into Salt Springs reservoir. Below Salt Springs dam, the North Fork flows past scenic Calaveras Dome and several popular campgrounds. Here, the river canyon is studded with impressive granite rock formations and building-size boulders. This mid-elevation river segment is a popular destination for campers, swimmers, rock climbers, and anglers.

Beyond its confluence with the Bear River, the North Fork enters a truly wild canyon dominated by the brooding prominence of Devils Nose Peak. This virtually trackless river canyon is noted for its old growth forests, mid-elevation oak and riparian woodland, great natural bio-diversity, and wild trout fishery. When Salt Springs dam overflows during high water years, this segment of the North Fork also offers a class III-V wilderness whitewater boating experience that is unparalleled in the central Sierra.

The entire North Fork canyon is also unique for its extensive high-quality archaeological values, which trace the history of the area's indigenous people back at least 2,500 years. More than 110 prehistoric and historic sites have been inventoried in the area, representing a full range of past human activities. The Forest Service established the Mokelumne Archaeological Special Interest Area in 1988 in recognition of the canyon's rich cultural value.

Most of the canyon and Archaelogical Area would be inundated under a reservoir if plans to build the proposed Devils Nose dam ever come to fruition. However, several studies have shown the project to be a loser economically…at least for now. Downstream, the Mokelumne River is already stored behind dams and diverted to the San Francisco Bay area. Designation of the North Fork as a National Wild & Scenic River would protect this last remaining free flowing segment of the North Fork and its outstanding scenic, recreation, cultural, ecological, and water quality values

How To Get There

North Fork Mokelumne Locator Map
From the town of Jackson on Hwy 49, take Hwy 88 east past Pioneer. Shortly after Pioneer, turn right on Salt Springs Road, and take this winding but paved road to the National Forest campgrounds below Salts Springs dam.

Recreation And Visitor Information
For additional recreation information, contact the Forest Service's Amador Ranger Station at (209) 295-4251.

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