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image - historic covered bridge at Knights Ferry

Stanislaus River Parks

Welcome! Stanislaus River Parks offers as its centerpiece a 330 foot long historic covered bridge built in 1863. Additionally, nine beautifully developed parks are located along the river as it stretches from the Sierra Nevada foothills to its confluence with the San Joaquin River.

The parks, developed after the completion of New Melones Dam, provide access to the river for white-water rafting, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

The Stanislaus River Parks Headquarters are located in Knights Ferry, twelve miles east of Oakdale on State Route 108/120.


From Oakdale, 12 miles east on State Route 108/120 to Kennedy Road.
Follow the signs to the Park Headquarters.
 Simple map to Stanislaus River Parks

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Stanislaus River Parks
17968 Covered Bridge Road
Oakdale, CA 95361-9510

FAX 209-881-3203


Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The park is open all year.

Please help us make everyone's visit enjoyable by:
  • Keeping your pets on a leash.
  • Keeping fires confined to grills and pits and using only dead and down wood.
  • Protecting your park, do not deface structures or remove vegetation.
  • Riding horses in undeveloped areas only.
  • Leaving weapons home. Firearms and ammunition are not allowed in recreation areas.
  • Helping clean up litter.

All areas are patrolled by Corps of Engineers rangers and deputies of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin County Sheriff's Departments. If you need help, contact a park ranger or deputy sheriff.


Recreation at Stanislaus River Parks

Information Center:
Located in historic Knights Ferry, the information center describes the rich history of the Stanislaus River and surrounding area. Display topics include salmon life cycles, Native American culture, the nearby covered bridge and a century-old flour mill. A short video introduction to the parks is available for viewing. Special programs may be set up by calling the park office.

Environmental Camping:
Three campgrounds offer a unique camping experience for groups or individuals. Access is by boat, foot, or bicycle only. Campgrounds at Horseshoe Road, Valley Oak and McHenry Avenue Recreation Areas provide picnic tables, restrooms, garbage cans and fire pits. Drinking water is available only at the McHenry Avenue Recreation Area. Camping is by permit only and reservations are recommended.

The four miles of rapids above Knights Ferry draw white-water enthusiasts from throughout the world. Experience and professional quality white-water equipment are required as some rapids are classified for teams of experts only. The river below Knights Ferry offers more tranquil boating for less experienced water enthusiasts. Bring your own or rent equipment from one of several local concessionaires. The use of motorized boats is limited.

 Check the river flow before boating

Stanislaus River Boating Regulations
From To  
Goodwin Dam Horseshoe Road No motors allowed
Horseshoe Road Recreation Area Orange Blossom Recreation Area Electric motors only

Orange Blossom Recreation Area

Highway 120 Bridge (Oakdale) 10 Horsepower gas motors
5 mph speed limit
Highway 120 Bridge San Joaquin River No restrictions

The river is open to fishing from January 1 to March 31, and the fourth Saturday in May to October 31 each year. Trout, smallmouth bass, striped bass, carp, channel and white catfish and black crappie tempt anglers. Special regulations restrict bait, size and possession limits. The entire river is closed to fishing from November 1 to December 31 for protection of the fall Chinook salmon run.

Day Use:
The possibilities are endless - hiking, boating, photography, picnicking, fishing, wildlife viewing and camping are but a few examples. All parks offer picnicking facilities, restrooms and access to the river. Historic buildings and access to the upper river canyon draw visitors to the Knights Ferry Recreation Area, but visitors to the lower parks will enjoy the quiet river landscape. Come and explore!

Hiking trails in Goodwin Canyon, Knights Ferry, Orange Blossom, Valley Oak and McHenry Avenue offer short tours of lush river woodlands. Preservation of the natural habitat is a major objective of the Stanislaus River Park System.

Fees are charged year-round for camping only. The Golden Age and Golden Access passport program expired Dec. 31, 2006. However, both passes are still honored as evidence of eligibility for related discounts at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks.

Environmental Camping* Group Camp Group Picnic Special Use
$10 $40 $40 - $50 $50 & up
* - Access by boat, foot or bicycle only

Corps parks also honor two of the America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Passes: the Interagency Senior and Interagency Access passes. The Corps does not sell or issue either pass.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sells an annual pass for $30. The Corps Annual Pass gives unlimited access to day-use areas at any Corps park for one calendar year, and is sold at all Corps parks.

Stanislaus Views




image - one less spark, one less fire