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East Walker River

The East Walker River is an approximately 90 miles (140 km) long,[2] tributary of the Walker River, in eastern California and western Nevada in the United States. It drains part of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in the watershed of Walker Lake in the Great Basin. Recently boated successfully. The river provides continuous Class IV for kayaks and IK at high water. Be aware many ranchers have placed barbed wire illegally across the river in a number of places on both the CA and NV sides of the river.

East Walker River
East Walker River.jpg
East Walker River in Bridgeport
Walker Lake.jpg
Walker River, showing the West Walker and East Walker rivers
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia, Nevada
Physical characteristics
SourceSierra Nevada
 ⁃ locationCalifornia
 ⁃ coordinates38°11′44″N 119°17′09″W / 38.19556°N 119.28583°W / 38.19556; -119.28583[1]
 ⁃ elevation6,570 ft (2,000 m)
MouthWalker River
 ⁃ location
Yerington, Nevada
 ⁃ coordinates
38°53′34″N 119°10′46″W / 38.89278°N 119.17944°W / 38.89278; -119.17944Coordinates: 38°53′34″N 119°10′46″W / 38.89278°N 119.17944°W / 38.89278; -119.17944[1]
 ⁃ elevation
4,442 ft (1,354 m)
Length90 mi (140 km), south-north
Basin size1,230 sq mi (3,200 km2)
 ⁃ locationnear Mason, Nevada
 ⁃ average150 cu ft/s (4.2 m3/s)
 ⁃ minimum2.3 cu ft/s (0.065 m3/s)
 ⁃ maximum2,820 cu ft/s (80 m3/s)


Watershed and courseEdit

The East Walker River rises from snow melt in the Sierra Nevada of eastern California north of Mono Lake and near the northeast boundary of Yosemite National Park. The mainstem begins in the south end of the Bridgeport Valley in Mono County, California, and flows from there north past Bridgeport, where it is impounded to form the Bridgeport Reservoir. Perennial tributaries of the river above Bridgeport Reservoir begin with Green Creek (and its Summers Creek sub-tributary), then Virginia Creek (and its Dog Creek, Dunderberg Creek, and Clearwater Creek sub-tributaries). Next Robinson Creek and Buckeye Creek (and its Swauger Creek sub-tributary) enter the reservoir.[3]

Below Bridgeport Reservoir, the East Walker River flows northeast through the Sweetwater Mountains where it crosses the state line into southern Lyon County, Nevada and skirts to the south of the Pine Grove Hills before flowing north to join the West Walker River approximately 7 mi (13 km) south of Yerington to form the Walker River.

U.S. Highway 395 passes through the southern part of the East Walker River valley, connecting it via Conway Summit to the Mono Lake area and via Devil's Gate Pass to the West Walker River. California State Route 182 (also known as the Sweet Water Road) and its continuation Nevada State Route 338 head northeast along the southern East Walker River valley from their terminus on Highway 395 in Bridgeport, but then diverge from the river and head northwest to the West Walker River valley.

Ecology and wildlifeEdit

By-Day Creek, a tributary to Buckeye Creek, is believed to contain the last pure native Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi population in the Walker River basin and was never stocked with other species of fish. The population estimated from electrofishing in 1986 was about 1,000, but subsequent drought conditions probably reduced the population to about 250 in the early 1990s. Much of the upper watershed of By-Day Creek is a refuge for LCT managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1979 and these fish are used to restock other parts of the watershed.[3]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: East Walker River
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed March 17, 2011
  3. ^ a b Rick Kattelmann (March 2012). East Walker River Watershed Assessment (PDF) (Report). Sierra Nevada Conservancy.