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.
Three campgrounds offer a unique camping experience. Group camping sites are accessible by boat, foot, or bicycle only. Individual sites are for boat-in 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 must be reserved in advance.
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
- From Goodwin Dam to Horseshoe Road: No motors allowed
- Horseshoe Road Recreation Area to Orange Blossom Recreation Area: Electric motors only
- Orange Blossom Recreation to Highway 120 Bridge (Oakdale): 10 Horsepower gas motors / 5 MPH speed limit
- Highway 120 Bridge (Oakdale) to 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.
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. Take a self-guided walk through history and see the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River, a designated National Historic Landmark. Many of the Stanislaus River Parks locations provide opportunities to enjoy 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.
- *Environmental Camping: $20 (*Access by boat, foot or bicycle only)
The Corps of Engineers participates in the America the Beautiful-Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series. The series includes the; Annual Pass, Annual 4th Grade Pass, Annual Senior Pass, Lifetime Senior Pass, Lifetime Access Pass, Volunteer Pass, and Military Pass. Be sure to pick up your America the Beautiful pass at any of our Corps parks as the money is directly invested back into the facilities to improve your recreational experience. Get more details about the pass series here http://1.usa.gov/1T6TRMt.
The Annual Pass is a onetime purchase of $80. You will have access to all of your favorite Corps parks, and participating federal agencies public lands. The Annual Pass is good for one year from the date of purchase.
Individuals 62 years and older have the choice of purchasing an Annual Senior Pass for $20 which is good for one year from the date of purchase, or a Lifetime Senior Pass for $80, which does not expire. Senior and Access Pass holders also receive a 50 percent discount on campsites at Corps-managed campgrounds.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also sells their Corps Annual Pass for $40. The Corps Annual Pass gives unlimited access to day-use areas at any Corps park for one calendar year at the date of purchase.