It’s helpful to use hiking poles and to cross your hiking shoes. But it’s more important to:

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Hazardous High Sierra creeks: List, map & alternates appeared initially on Andrew Skurka.

This GPX file that is downloaded could be:

  • June 10-15, and
  • July 2-10.


On this page you’ll discover a list and map of all recognized creek hazards. It’s developed to maintain backcountry users by highlighting problem spots and identifying wiser alternates.
The list and map will be regularly improved, especially:


A bloated Tuolumne River as it plummets from Tuolumne Meadows into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

Please contribute

Is your information accurate? Have an experience to share? Curious about having an creek? Leave an opinion.

On a standard sunny and warm day, the creeks rise and drop substantially. They are highest in the early-evening, swollen with an entire day of meltand cheapest in the morning, after an evening of near-freezing temperatures.

The way to utilize these resources in the area

  • Kern River (in Kernville), which drains the southernmost High Sierra;
  • Kaweah River (in Three Rivers), that originates of Lodgepole Campground along with Kaweah Pass (about the High Sierra Route );
  • Kings River (at Road’s End), which is downstream of Forester Pass, Rae Lakes, along with Muir Pass;
  • Merced River (at Happy Isles), which catches melt in the southern half Yosemite;
  • Tuolumne River (at Tuolumne Meadows), downstream of Lyell Canyon and Donohue Walk;


Already I have written an in-depth tutorial about equipment and techniques to get creek crossings. In short:
To bring this map (or its information ) into the area:

  • Opened on your smartphone, with a program like GaiaGPS;
  • Loaded onto a handheld GPS device;
  • Uploaded to an internet mapping platform (I highly recommend Caltopo), where you are able to edit and publish it.

If you are a High Sierra specialist and would like to make important contributions to this undertaking, contact me along with your credentials (and your proficiency with Google Sheets and CalTopo) and that I shall give you edit permissions to the source documents. I really could use some help with this, thanks.
If you’d like to share information regarding specific creek crossings, leave a comment below. Please include:
For current flow flows, consult with the gauges linked below. Even if they are not on your route, they will provide you a feeling for real-time conditions.

  • Sign to your Google account, click , then choose File > Make a copy; or,
  • Download it like an Excel document .
  • Substantial wintertime snowfall,
  • Arrival of hot and sunny weather at late-spring,
  • Steep gradients,
  • couple bridges,
  • Recreational utilization miles of headwaters, and,
  • Non-porous granite substrate.


The list and map of creek hazards are becoming more and more comprehensive and accurate. But they are not perfect: a few hazardous creeks aren’t included, and some information may be incorrect or out of date.
The default is the USGS 7.5-minute map collection. But I advise using the more updated FSTopo 2016 layer for excursions in or via National Forests.

List of creek risks

  • Yosemite National Park,
  • Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park,
  • John Muir Trail,
  • Pacific Crest Trail,
  • High Sierra Trail,
  • Rae Lakes Loop,
  • Yosemite High Route, also,
  • Kings Canyon High Basin Route.

This resource requires your help. Even though I have grown extensively in the High Sierra,” I cannot speak confidently about every creek crossing.

Map of creek hazards

About peak run-off

Water levels normally peak in late-May and June. But after wet winters and cool springs, then they are sometimes postponed until or remain elevated into July.
To start this map in a window, click .
To create your own copy of the spreadsheet that you can tailor to your own itinerary and then either download or print, either:

  • Plan crossings in the morning, if flows are rather low;
  • Identify and utilize safer crossing points;
  • Cross bigger creeks in which they are braided, or carry in their tributaries independently farther upstream;
  • Discover snow bridges, and also log bridges and clogs; and,
  • Cross along with different walkers, as matter of safety and at times stability.

Data: Current levels

Swift and heavy creek crossings will likely be found across the range, for example but not Limited to (the):
To create this listing most useful to the most number of backpackers — who overwhelming begin and finish at precisely the same course mind, who stay inside one property management authority, and who follow unbranded routes — I have resolved to arrange this list by agency and then by alphabetical order.

Gear & abilities

Note: After creating your own backup of the document, additional upgrades to my master spreadsheet will not automatically download .
Just like the listing, your GPX copy will not update with adjustments that are made to my master map.
To get a PDF of the list which you can download or print to your smartphone, click here.
Creek crossings at the High Sierra warrant your attention. A Special set of circumstances causes the danger:

  • To start, click on , which will open the map in a new window;
  • Underneath Export, choose Download GPX file.

Each spring, creeks in the High Sierra rage with snowmelt. For one to two months, they’re a grave threat, particularly after wet winters such as 2018-19. Backpackers can still grow, camp, and explore safely, but they should be mindful of and respect this danger.
I’m providing those sources as a matter of public safety, but ultimately you’re accountable for your decisions and security.
However, in recognition of the popularity of trade routes including the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails, and also as an additional resource for the Yosemite High Route Guide and Kings Canyon High Basin Route Guide, I’ve included dedicated columns for these paths and routes allowing for quick filtering of relevant crossings.
Before we reach the listing and map of all creek hazards, ” I ’d love to share some circumstance and complementary info.
Please discuss your experience(s) to help make this a more accurate and comprehensive resource, ultimately helping keep hikers simpler. For instructions, check with the conclusion of this post.

Allergic variables