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General Information

Historic Covered Bridge, Circa 1863 -- Stanislaus River Parks
Copyright: - US Army Corps of Engineers
Historic Covered Bridge, Circa 1863 -- Stanislaus River Parks
Description - 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 whitewater rafting, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

Attractions - Stanislaus River Parks offers a variety of water-related sports, enjoyable sights, day use areas and unique overnight spots. The park is open all year.

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 for groups or individuals. Access is by boat, foot, or bicycle only. Camping is by permit only and reservations are recommended. Fees are charged year-round for camping only.

The 4.0 miles of rapids above Knights Ferry draw whitewater enthusiasts from throughout the world. Experience and professional quality whitewater equipment are required. The river below Knights Ferry offers more tranquil boating for those with less experience.

The river is open to fishing from early January to the end of March, and the end of May to mid-October. The variety of species include trout, smallmouth bass, striped bass, carp, channel and white catfish, and black crappie. The entire river is closed to fishing from late October to the end of December.

Day use opportunities are endless. Visitors come for hiking, boating, photography, picnicking ($ - group), fishing, wildlife viewing and camping. 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.

Leashed pets are permitted. Golden Age and Golden Access passports are accepted for a 50% discount on single unit fees. Golden Age cards may be purchased with proof of age (62) and American citizenship.

Recreation - Recreations enjoyed at the various parks include whitewater sports, fishing, picnicking, hiking, sightseeing, photography, camping, and view exhibits.

Climate - A Mediterranean type climate extends over most of the River producing warm, dry summers and cold, moist winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Packing rain gear and layering of clothing is advisable. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation with most moisture falling between October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. Summer temperatures above 100 degrees are part of the normal pattern.

Location - The Stanislaus River Parks Headquarters is located in Knights Ferry, 12 miles east of Oakdale on State Route 108 / 120.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Brandi (Modesto, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I have been going to the McHenry recreation park since I was a little girl. Sometimes it gets a little crowded, but the camp sites are somewhat secluded, and there is always another trail you can find for yourself. I caught a 15 lbs. striper bass last year, also good for catfish. Very relaxing beautiful place. Even thinking about having my wedding there this summer.

Filed By: Jean T. (Modesto, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Just because it says no Trip Reports to date - and because I am trying to learn about the Stanislaus/San Joaquin River ways.. and spots to camp and fish. Since my man and I have gone to Woodward Lake 3 times this past month and a half and can't even get a bite... so for him I am trying to scout ... pass over River Road to Escalon and back for work and tonight turned right and found a sign - McHenry Recreation Park... drove in - the ranger booth looked like it hasn't been manned for a long while... the people in the park were camping? Fishing... swimming... picnic'ing... etc. The water ways looked great. I am taking my friend there hopefully this weekend.. and will make another report when we come back. And hope there is someone who will give me some feedback as to the type of people who camp there and generally go for relaxation... any problems with noise ... drinking... et cetera.

More Information

Contact Information:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Stanislaus River Parks, 17968 Covered Bridge Road , Oakdale, CA, 95361-9510, Phone: 209-881-3517, Fax: 209-881-3203
, stanislaus-info@spk.usace.army.mil

Additional Information:
California Rivers - This section mainly describes California's designated Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Central Valley Region - California's breadbasket, the great Central Valley, stretches for 450 miles down the center of the state, from Willows to Bakersfield. This region includes culturally diverse communities, historic sites, exceptional outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife and the California Delta.
Gold Country Region - The Gold Country Region lies in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. With its remnants of the gold rush era, pastoral towns, Sierra foothills, recreational and cultural activities, this region is filled with opportunities.

California Department of Water Resources, Division of Flood Mgt. - Official agency website.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Official agency website.


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