Clavey River (God’s Bath) August 18th 2012


There were 10 participants: Elaine, Michael, Derek, Tom, Roger, Russell, and Jessica : and some newcomers to gorge scrambling: Janelle, Ted and Lark. Unfortunately, because of back problems , our gorge scrambling leader, Paul, was not able to join us on this adventure. We carpooled from Oakdale then met Elaine at Tuolumne City. From there we went southerly in 3 vehicles the 40 minutes drive alongside scenic canyons to the bridge over the Clavey river gorge. Here we left one vehicle and traveled along the ridge road paralleling the river. We found a gently sloping forest road leading down to the river and spent nearly an hour hiking down . Just before reaching the river we took a steeper single track down. Eventually this trail petered out. Lark discovered a way down the steep embankments by crossing over a creek on a fallen log and then sliding down another log to the river bed. It turns out that we had got to the river well upstream from where Paul had planned for , so we had a very long scramble ahead of us. Once we reached the river we were able to find a good spot in the shade for lunch. While temperatures during the week had been around 100, we were fortunate to have a mild day of around 80 degrees (although a bit muggy). Unlike a lot of the other gorge scrambling outings (which involve a great amount of floating down the river on airbeds) this trip is rock scrambling all the way apart from a couple of spots where a very short swim is the easiest and safest way downstream. As is often on these trips, Russ led the way down the river. He was joined by newcomer Ted who amazed us all by his nimble scrambling on his preferred hiking footwear: flip-flops! In the first part of the outing the water was quite shallow with a wider valley. We were even able to walk along the shore at times and make quicker progress than walking in the river bed. The last half of the trip was in much more of a canyon/gorge. There was much more water flow with numerous tempting swimming holes, however because we were concerned about getting back before dark we only stopped a couple of times for a refreshing swim. In the last half the rock scrambling became more challenging, and a lot of fun. Toward the end of the trip the gorge was narrow with rocky cliffs, and lovely pools. At many places you wished you could just hang out all day and absorb the beauty that no landscaper could ever duplicate. After about 7 hours of scrambling we finally got to our destination: God’s Bath. Gods Bath is a very popular swimming hole. We arrived about an hour before dusk. Here we had two of our most challenging and memorable spots: one was climbing down a 6 foot waterfall with the water rushing over you. The other was a very narrow rock crossing :  just wide enough for your feet with a high drop off on either side to pools of water below. Some just “went for it”, others sat down and slid across, others were helped by the friendly locals who were hanging out swimming at the pool. Because we still had time before dusk we stopped at God’s Bath for about 40 minutes to swim and play.  God’s Bath has to be one of the best swimming holes anywhere. It is a beautiful narrow canyon a large smooth rock slab to hang out on, with rocky cliffs on either side. There are two pools, a large one “the tub” and another smaller one “the pot hole” that can be reached by swimming underwater, under the rock slab. Here is a link to photos and video which show some to the beauty of God’s bath With darkness approaching we reluctantly left God’s Bath and went the last ½ mile or so  downstream to the bridge where we were able to work our way up the canyon wall to where we had left the one of our shuttle vehicles. After the hike a few went to Black oak casino in Tuolumne for dinner- others needed to get home While it had been a long challenging day – it had been really enjoyable. Jessica liked God’s bath so much she was planning to go back the next weekend. Some participant comments: ………Yes although a bit exhausting, I had a wonderful day! This was my first but will definitely not be my last gorge scrambling. It was a pleasure meeting everyone for a grand adventure – Janelle. …………I had a really fun (& exhausting!) day yesterday, thank you to everyone for helping me get through the Clavey without TOO many scratches and bruises – Elaine.

Derek Castle


One response to “Clavey River (God’s Bath) August 18th 2012

  1. Sounds like an AMAZING trip. Are these trips open to the general public (namely, me!)? I am an skilled climber and off the trail scrambler, and want to explore more with others. Is your group a “closed” group of friends, or is it open for people like myself to join in the adventures? Thanks!

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