(209) 962-4000


Rafting the Tuolumne River

Yellow rafts sitting still by a river

Yay! There is snow in Yosemite National Park, but spring is just around the corner.  Abundant snow pack means LOTS of water for rafting in the Tuolumne River, whose headwaters flow from the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada in the Park. Though the Tuolumne River is dam-controlled (as are most rivers in the West), you can still plan on “a rambunctious spring with big fun water in May and June” as Tom, river guide/co-owner with Sierra Mac, explained.

Rafting on the Tuolumne River begins in April and runs through Labor Day weekend. Isaac, a river guide with ARTA said you can expect “higher water flows, wildflowers and green landscapes early in the season.”   In the summer the water level drops and the days heat up, which offers a whole different experience.

The Tuolumne River is considered California’s premier white-water adventure. Rated a Class IV on the main Tuolumne, you can extend your trip to include Cherry Creek and the Upper Tuolumne run for an “experts only” Class V experience.  The river’s steep gradient makes for exquisitely long sets of rapids, and the 18 miles of roadless isolation ensure you are surrounded by nothing but wilderness.  With commercial rafting permits only allowing 20 guests per trip on this National Wild & Scenic stretch of river, you are guaranteed an intimate and adventurous outing.  Contrast this with the overwhelming summer crowds in nearby Yosemite Valley.

Whitewater rafting is a combination of hair-raising, adrenaline-inducing, scared-stiff-out-of-your-raft experiences interspersed with peaceful floats, wildlife watching, and maybe a lame joke or two from your guide.  Just enough of each to make the days thrilling and magical.  Mix in some stops along the way to play in a pool, climb a canyon, or grab a bite to eat.  Expect to get water in your face (and up your nose!), whether it’s a big drop or a slow-stretch water fight between boats.  There is NOTHING like it – nor as much fun on a hot California summer afternoon!

If you are riding the river on a 2 or 3-day trip, expect to spend your nights on secluded and beautiful riverside beaches after enjoying a tastefully prepared camp dinner under the stars.  Add a glass of wine or a pint of beer and life doesn’t get any better.

There are five rafting companies permitted on the Tuolumne River – two of which are headquartered right here in Groveland.  Sierra Mac exclusively operates on the two rivers running out of Yosemite National Park, the Tuolumne River and the Merced River.  Established in 1965 by Marty McDonnell, who pioneered the first commercial run of the Tuolumne, they feel that every river trip is an opportunity to have fun and to educate through a unique combination of great guides, guests, and, of course, the “T” itself.

ARTA (American River Touring Association) is a non-profit river running operation that also calls Groveland home. Begun in 1963, ARTA donates its profits to a different environmental non-profit group for each river they run.  Profits from rafting on the Tuolumne go to support the work of the Tuolumne River Trust.  ARTA’s motto is: Appreciate, Educate, Donate.

Other rafting companies permitted on the Tuolumne River are OARS, All Outdoors, and Zephyr.  All of the organizations have high standards and offer guests safe, interesting, and enjoyable experiences on the river.  Whichever company you choose, make your reservations soon…it promises to be a fabulous year to be on the river!

The Groveland 18767 Main Street circle logo

Summer Menu

Small Bites & Shares

Southwest Chicken Spring Rolls with Pico de Gallo $12

Vegetable Samosas with cilantro chutney $12

Heirloom Tomato Flatbreads with grape tomato, mozzarella, pecorino, pesto, balsamic reduction $14

Grilled Chicken Wings with teriyaki, pineapple pepper relish, scallions, peanuts $14

Truffle and Parmesan French Fries with garlic aioli $11

Charcuterie and Cheese Plate with mostarda, crackers, whole grain mustard $16



Fiesta Salad with romaine, Pico de Gallo, black beans, avocado, pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch $13

House Caesar Salad with parmesan crisps, garlicky croutons, lemon Caesar dressing $12

Artisan Salad with apple, celery, dried apricots, cucumber, pumpkin seed vinaigrette $12

*Add Shrimp +$14, Chicken +$10, Steak +$14, or Salmon +$12



Vegetarian Orecchiette Pasta $24

with Spring vegetables, tomato coulis, pecorino Romano

Fried Chicken Sliders $22

with brioche bun, sweet pickles, coleslaw, chipotle mayo and house fries

Wagyu Burger Sliders $24

with aged cheddar, brioche bun, mustard aioli, romaine lettuce and house fries

Blackened Chicken Tacos $24

with flour tortilla, jack cheese, black bean aioli, mango salsa and tortilla chips

Pan Roasted Salmon $32 

with cous-cous tabouleh, seasonal vegetable, citrus vinaigrette

Jumbo Shrimp and Potato Gnocchi $34 

with English peas, mushrooms, heirloom tomato, lemon butter sauce

Grilled Steak Frittes $42

with Prime NY strip, house fries, chimi churi sauce



Room 110 is situated at the back of the hotel in the Annex building on the lower floor.  This cozy room features a queen bed, with a large private bathroom containing a tub/shower.  This room accommodates two guests. This is a pet-friendly room.

Accessibility Features: Entry door is 32” wide; there is an outlet within 4’ of the telephone jack; the door lock is located 44” from the floor; there is more than 36” of room to the right side of the bed; hangers are located 53” off the ground.  Currently, the door handle is a historic twist knob, but we are working with our locksmith to replace this with a levered handle that can easily be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist.

The bathroom has room to do a t-turn; the toilet seat is 18” off the ground and has a grab bar located behind the toilet; the wash basin is 30” off the ground with insulated pipes; the wash basin faucet is easy to operate with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist; the towel racks are 46” off the floor; the bathroom floors are slip resistant.  There are no grab bars on an adjacent wall in the bathroom for the toilet as there is not an adjacent wall to place them on. 

The tub has faucet controls positioned at the center of the end wall and open side of the tub; faucet can easily be turned on and off with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist; there is a grab bar at the foot of the tub and at the head of the tub; and there are two 40” grab bars alongside the tub to serve for low and high needs.  The fixtures in the bathtub are historic and therefore we do not have a 60” hand held shower wand.

Due to the historic nature of our property, our rooms are fairly small, therefore we are unable to provide 36” around both sides and the foot of the bed.  However, we do provide full clearance between the door and the right side of the bed.

You can book this room online or please call us 24 hours/7 days a week at 209-962-4000 or email us at guestservices@groveland.com and we would be happy to find the room that most meets your needs.  

Pet Friendly

Your search for pet-friendly vacation lodging near Yosemite National Park ends here.  Our four-legged guests love the Groveland Hotel as much as our two-legged ones!  We’re happy to offer select pet-friendly rooms, located on the first floor, for your stay in Groveland, California.  The pet fee is $75 per reservation, with a limit of one pet per guest.  We welcome pets 60 lbs or less.

For dog-friendly activities near the Groveland Hotel, we recommend a walk along the Hetch Hetchy Railroad or going for a refreshing dip in the pet-friendly Rainbow Pools swimming hole.  If you are heading into Yosemite National Park, check their website for pet rules and restrictions.

Looking for a local dog sitter/boarder where you can keep your dogs for the day while exploring Yosemite?  There is a great nearby facility called Big Creek Boarding.