The closest summertime rafting to the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley! You'll be surprised that such an entertaining river is located so close to home. This scenic float is just off the beaten path but it feels like you're in a different world, away from the hustle and stress of everyday life. The trip is wildly popular with experienced and inexperienced paddlers, especially on the weekends. This is due to the Stanislaus River's beautiful scenery, easy but fun rapids and ripples, great swimming holes and its close to home! This float trip is approximately 8 miles long and is ideal for families, church and business groups, as well as boy scouts and other civic organizations. Trip is 3-5 hours total time.
Your trip starts off in the historic town of Knights Ferry just below the covered bridge, the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. There you will check in with our friendly staff, receive your lifejackets, paddles, raft(s), and safety orientation. After you feel comfortable and ready for your trip you will float through the town and directly into the biggest rapids of the day. Make sure you are ready for the Class II RUSSIAN RAPIDS and make sure you smile for the camera as your fun action photographs are taken at this point. They will be available for purchase at the end of the trip in the rafters parking area or at our river store in Knights Ferry.
The next two miles you will float through some of the most stunning sections of the lower Stanislaus River. Here you will see basalt cliffs teaming with cliff swallows who migrate here in the spring. You will also go through a blue heron and turkey volture rookery and catch a glimpse of our trout, salmon and other fish through the clean, clear flowing pools.
At mile 3 you will be able to see the famous "Lover's Leap" on the left side of the river. On the right side of the river is the undeveloped Lovers Leap recreation area. There are no bathrooms or trash cans so please pack out what you bring in.
At mile 5.5 is Horseshoe Park. You have picnic tables and restrooms at this location.
At mile 6 is Horseshoe boat ramp. 2015 Update. Due to the drought we will be ending our trip at the Horseshoe Boat ramp. You will still get your 3-5 hour trip, just taking out at mile 6.
9:00AM - Weekends: Check in at the Knights Ferry Rafting Customers Parking Area and look for the red River Journey Tent- 18050 Sonora Road. Weekdays: Check in at our river store in downtown Knights Ferry- 17624 Sonora Road, Knights Ferry, CA
9:15AM - After gearing up for the trip and a safety orientation you will board the rafts. Our guides will prepare the equipment and begin a safety talk for all participants.
9:30AM - Trip departs on river. The first half mile serves as a nice warm-up with several fun riffles. You'll then come to "Russian Rapid" a 50 yard long class 2 rapid that is the biggest thrill of the day. Smile for your photos! After running this rapid you'll come across a few calm pools with clear water and stunning scenery.
12:00PM Lunch - Stop at Horseshoe Bend Park to eat your lunch alongside the river.
1:00PM - You'll head downstream into another scenic section of the trip.
1:30PM-5:00PM - Take-out at Horseshoe Boat ramp and a short ride back to your car. We will have your photos available to purchase at the parking lot on weekends and in our river store in Knights Ferry on weekdays and weekends. Come by after your trip and enjoy an ice cream while you purchase other photos and river souvenirs. Our lower Stanislaus trips usually provide lots of good stories and memories for our guests!
Weekends: meet us at the Knights Ferry Rafting Customers Parking Area (18050 Sonora Road, Knights Ferry, CA 95361) and look for the red River Journey Tent- google map directions here.
Weekdays: meet us at our Knights Ferry River Store (17624 Sonora Road, Knights Ferry, CA 95361 park behind the building)- google map directions here.
Frequently asked questions
* When is the best time of the year to go on a Stanislaus River rafting tour?
The Stanislaus River has rafting nearly year round but our trips run from April through October. Early season has the best water flows.
* Do I have to know how to swim well?
We require that all participants must be able to swim. We do provide high quality lifejackets. We ask that they are worn at all times. If you cannot swim we recommend our guided trips.
* Will I need a wetsuit?
No, spring, summer and fall rafting on class II rivers does not require a wetsuit.
* What should I bring?
You need to bring shorts, swim suit, t-shirt, foot protection (old tennis shoes, booties or sport sandals), and a dry set of clothes for your ride home. Everything that you wear will get wet so plan accordingly. Please do not bring valuable items (i.e. expensive clothes or shoes, jewelry, non-waterproof cameras or other items) on the raft.
For camping trips bring all the camping equipment you need (even the kitchen sink if required) since our Stanislaus River campground has drive-in camping. We have lists of equipment recommended for all trips on our "what to bring" page for each trip. Do not bring pets to any of our trips.
* Is lunch provided?
Lunch is not provided on this trip
* How often do trips on the Stanislaus River run?
We run trips seven days a week from April through October on The Stanislaus River.
* How many people go with each trip?
During midweek we have smaller sized groups and the rivers are generally less crowded making the solitude of the trip much better than on weekends. On weekends we generally book out so make your reservations as soon as possible. Sundays are usually less crowded than Saturdays. Early and late season are less busy than prime season. We can fit up to 8 people in each rafts although we do have a few 10 man rafts available.
* What if the weather is bad?
We will run in any condition of weather or may give everyone the option to take a rain-check credit if the weather is extremely unpleasant at the check-in point. After April, the weather is usually perfect for rafting.
* Can we request a guide?
If we have at least 2 weeks notice we will make every effort possible to schedule a guide for an extra charge.
* Is there a limit on what we can take?
The rafts can hold one medium sized cooler. Oversized and wheeled coolers will not be allowed.
* Can we still raft if we have young children (under 5 years)?
All of our trips are for ages 5 and older.
All of our trips include your raft, lifejacket, and paddle for each person. Shuttle ride and safety orientation also included.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TRIP
* Food & drinks Including plenty of water (cans & plastic) NO GLASS BOTTLES!
* Small to medium sized cooler (no large wheeled coolers allowed)
* Tennis shoes or sandals
* Swimsuit, shorts & a tee-shirt
* Trash Bag
WHAT NOT TO BRING ON YOUR TRIP
* Cell phones
* Automatic door openers
* Anything you don’t want to lose or get wet
* Glass bottles
* Styrofoam coolers
Places to stay near the Stanislaus River
Knights Ferry has only one campground that is run by River Journey and is exclusive for our rafting guests only. (Regardless of what the internet says as Knightsferrycamping.com does not exist anymore.) Please call for reservations.
Lodging is available in Oakdale, California which is about 10 miles away. We are a one hour drive from Yosemite National Park which provides camping and lodging in a spectacular setting.
* Stanislaus River Campground - Knights Ferry
* Yosemite National Park Camping
* Holiday Inn Express - Oakdale
What fun. This is our second season with River Journey. We brought our grand kids and the way their professional staff treated us and the way their safety briefing were conducted (as a professional pilot, I am big on safety briefings), we felt completely safe. We normally go three times a season and certain times of the year that river can be challenging. Again, with their staff we felt completely at ease. What a great way to spend a day and cool off in the summer. The price is certainly well worth it.
This is very well organized. The staff is very helpful and friendly. It's is a pretty easy float and very kid friendly. Be prepared to get soaked and make sure to come equipped with super soakers. The water was pretty low and not moving very fast when I went so we definitely had to paddle hard! It makes for a decent upper body workout! It's great that they provide transportation back to your vehicle. Overall pretty fun!:)
Mike F. Modesto, CA 7/30/12 (from Yelp)
Jen G. Modesto, CA 8/18/2010 (from Yelp)
Great fun and definitely not as crowded as the American River in Sacramento so that's a major plus. Check out River Journey for all rentals http://www.riverjourne.... It's a very chill river and is a great way to spend about 2-3 hours on a hot day for about $20 and comes with a shuttle ride back to your starting point.
Margaret N. Sunnyvale, CA 3/2/2010 (from Yelp)