- On the Stanislaus National Forest, you can fish in over 800 miles of rivers and streams, enjoy a comfortable cabin, stay in a campground, or hike into the backcountry seeking pristine solitude. You can swim near a sandy beach or wade into cold clear streams cooling your feet while lost in the beauty of nature, raft the exciting and breathtaking Tuolumne River, or canoe one of the many gorgeous lakes. You can ride a horse, a mountain bike or a snowmobile.
Copyright: Geri Ward - US Forest Service
Tuolumne River, Stanislaus National Forest
The Stanislaus is home to 811 miles of rivers and streams and 18 fish species. Common species include rainbow, Eastern brook and German Brown trout, and salmon. The Stanislaus contains 29 miles of the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River and 11 miles of the Merced Wild and Scenic River. The Forest has many lakes and reservoirs for the swimmer and boat enthusiast. The Emigrant Wilderness and portions of the Carson-Iceberg and Mokelumne Wildernesses are located on the Stanislaus.
Recreation - Camping is one of the most popular recreation activities in the Stanislaus National Forest. The ideal camping time in most Forest areas is May to October, prior to winter storm activity. Although limited, reservation campgrounds are available, however the majority of Forest campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first serve system.
Fishing is available in many streams, rivers and lakes throughout the Forest. Portions of Basin Creek, Beaver Creek, Deadman Creek, Lyons Reservoir, Moccasin Creek, and the Stanislaus, Clark Fork, and Tuolumne Rivers are usually stocked with fish each year. The hundreds of lakes and streams in the Emigrant Wilderness are also good trout fishing areas. Cherry and Beardsley Lakes are well-suited for motorized boats and water-skiing. The smaller lakes such Pinecrest and Lake Alpine are more suitable for sailboats and canoes.
Aquamarine lakes and streams, wildflowers, spectacular vistas, and unique geological formations await hikers and nature lovers in the Stanislaus National Forest. Hikers, horseback riders, and backpackers have 480 miles of trails, and over 1000 miles of unsurfaced roads available for their use and enjoyment.
Whitewater enthusiasts might consider a trip down the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River on the Groveland Ranger District, or the North Fork Stanislaus River on the Calaveras Ranger District. Both rivers are very technical (Class IV and V) and suited for experienced boaters. You can organize a rafting trip on your own, or arrange a trip with a commercial rafting company.
The Stanislaus National Forest offers many opportunities for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) including four-wheel drives, ATVs and motorcycles. Off-highway travel is restricted to designated routes.
Whether your idea of winter fun is skiing, snow play or snowmobiling, the Stanislaus National Forest has many areas for winter sports. Two ski areas operate under special use permits on the Forest: Bear Valley via Highway 4; and, Dodge Ridge via Highway 108. Several Nordic ski trails, of varying difficulty, exist at Bear Valley on Highway 4 and near Pinecrest on Highway 108. Many other Forest roads also provide excellent Nordic skiing opportunities.
Climate - A Mediterranean type climate extends over most of the Forest with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. This precipitation falls mainly from October through April. At higher elevations, it comes mostly in the form of snow. A snowpack from 5-10 feet or more is usually present from December to May at elevations above 6,500 feet. Winter temperatures below zero and summer temperatures above 100 degrees indicate the normal seasonal spread.
Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity. It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.
The Stanislaus lies in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains in east-central California, between the Mokelumne and the Merced Rivers. It is headquartered in the town of Sonora. The Forest forms the northeast boundary of Yosemite National Park.