This beautiful section of the Stanislaus River is popular with both experienced and inexperienced paddlers due to its outstanding mix of wildlife and variety of topography. This float trip is approximately 8 miles long (3-5 hours) and is ideal for families, youth groups, companies, clubs, or for those just looking to spend a relaxing day on the water. Our put in point is in the historic town of Knights Ferry and our home. The only rafting company that is actually located in Knights Ferry all year.
Here is a link to our google map so you can see first hand what the river looks like.
1.Knights Ferry - This is where your trip begins! Knights Ferry itself is an excellent place to explore before or after your trip. Among the town's attractions are an old ice cream shop, a general store, a flour mill that is over 150 years old and of course the covered bridge! This is also home to our River Store where you can look at your photos while you enjoy a tasty ice cream from the ice cream shop next door.
2.Russian Rapids – Smile for the camera! Russian Rapids is a class II rapid that provides excitement, yet is still perfect for those new to rafting! Rolling "haystacks" and “holes” of water provide a challenge in the first mile of your trip!
3.Two Bluffs – Ancient lava flows have created a unique formation where the river cuts between two cliffs that rise sharply on both sides of the river. During the summer months cliff swallows call this area their home, and you can get a close up look at hundreds of their mud-nests that dot the cliffs.
4.Lovers Leap - To the left of the river a sheer rock wall with an odd peak juts out against the California sky. Tale has it that many years ago a Native American land dispute led a chieftain's son and a warring Spanish Landowner’s daughter to jump off of this cliff into the water below to prove their love.
5.Throw Rapid - The Stanislaus River's suprise attack! At this point the river takes a sharp right turn, followed by a sharp left. Those who aren't paying attention will find themselves caught in the low hanging branches. Stop just downstream of this to watch other unknowing groups scramble to avoid the trees! We always recommend staying river left.
6.Horseshoe Park - An excellent place to picnic or just stop for a break. The park itself sprawls over nearly ½ mile and has picnic tables, restrooms, a parking lot and access point, as well as a campground that can be reserved through the Corp of Engineers. If the top part is crowded go down river a little to find the rest of the park.
7.Honolulu Bar – Look closely for the signs as access to this is often hard to spot, although it too provides river access. Picnic tables are here as well- but the main thing to know about this spot is the fork in the river- always prepared to go left or plan to do some up-river paddling or hiking through berry bushes and poison oak.
8.Swimming Holes- This part of the river is slow and calm. Feel free to relax in the cool river and remove all the daily stress. Just don’t use the ropes swings or you will be prosecuted for trespassing!
9.Orange Blossom - nestled 8 miles from Knights Ferry, this beautiful park has multiple picnic areas which you can rent out ahead of time. Acres of green grass shaded under trees provides a place to play volleyball, eat, or just unwind after your trip. A great place to have River Journey do your catering so you have a warm meal ready when you arrive! Remember- the last shuttle leaves at 5:00!
In addition to the Knights Ferry to Orange Blossom trip, we offer an Orange Blossom to Oakdale trip which is of comparable length but a lot milder and less crowded. This four-five hour float starts at Orange Blossom Recreation Area, and finishes at the Hwy 120 bridge in Oakdale. This section of the Stanislaus River is popular with families and groups with small children (age 5-up), youth groups, and those seeking a relaxing, low-risk float trip. The scenery is very lush and green with long stretches of remote, serene floating. The many sand bars and islands along the way make a nice rest stop for picnicking. This is also the second part of the Stanislaus River rafting overnight trip that we offer!