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Stanislaus National Forest

The Stanislaus National Forest, created on February 22, 1897, is among the oldest of the National Forests. It is named for the Stanislaus River whose headwaters rise within Forest boundaries.

In the Stanislaus National Forest, you’ll find a treasure chest of recreation activities, including water activities, fishing in over 800 miles of rivers and streams, camping, and hiking. Swim near a sandy beach or wade into cold clear streams cooling your feet while lost in the beauty of nature, raft the exciting Tuolumne River, or canoe one of the many gorgeous lakes. Ride a horse, a mountain bike, snowmobile, or an off-highway vehicle.

Wild and Scenic River designation allows for rivers to be preserved in a free-flowing state, protecting water quality and scenic beauty. The Stanislaus National Forest contains two such Rivers, including 29 miles of the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River and 11 miles of the Merced Wild and Scenic River. Enjoyable and challenging whitewater rafting runs are available in spring and summer.

The Stanislaus National Forest has many lakes and reservoirs for the swimmer and boat enthusiast. Cherry and Beardsley are well-suited for motorized boats and water-skiing. The smaller lakes such as Lake Alpine and Pinecrest are more suitable for sailboats and canoes.

“Swim near a sandy beach or wade into cold clear streams cooling your feet while lost in the beauty of nature, raft the exciting Tuolumne River, or canoe one of the many gorgeous lakes.”

The Stanislaus National Forest contains all of the Emigrant Wilderness and portions of the Carson-Iceberg and Mokelumne Wildernesses. The pristine and dramatic scenery in the Wilderness Areas is a backdrop to outstanding hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding opportunities.

Photo by Michelle Turner

Winter provides a whole new realm of recreation opportunities on the Stanislaus National Forest. Whether your idea of winter fun is skiing, snow play or, snowmobiling, the Stanislaus National Forest has many areas for winter sports.

Awaiting discovery in the hollows, mountains and river valleys of our National Forest are the remnants of past cultures that confront us and remind us of the centuries-old relationship between people and the land. These heritage resources hold clues to past ecosystems, add richness and depth to our landscapes, provide links to living traditions, and help transform a beautiful walk in the woods into an unforgettable encounter with history.

California Forests

Nevada Forests

First-timer’s Adventure

Hike the Trail of the Gargoyles. This scenic 1.5-mile walk has sweeping views of unique geologic features and formations which shape the Sierras. Excellent wildflower site in June.

Brochures are available at the Summit Ranger Station. On Herring Creek Rd., 6 miles from Highway 108.



California, Nevada

Nearest Large Urban Areas:

San Francisco, Reno

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.


Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.