North Fork Stanislaus River

Bird’s Eye View

The North Fork of the Stanislaus River, or the “North Stan,” is an under-appreciated gem for rafting and kayaking. It is only runnable in the springtime when the snow melts and the river rises, since the upstream dam rarely releases water during daylight hours. When it does run, in May and early June, it is well worth making the drive up Highway 4 into Calaveras Big Trees State Park to raft or kayak and experience the excitement and beauty the North Fork of the Stanislaus River has to offer.

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North Stan Whitewater Photo Gallery


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The North Stan in a Nutshell

Difficulty: Class IV+

Gradient: 77 ft/mi

Length: 7 miles

Season: May – June

Put-in: Sourgrass Campground

Take-out: Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Who should go: Intermediate and advanced boaters who can withstand a little cold for one of the most beautiful runs in California

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Whitewater & Scenery

Whitewate & SceneryBecause the Sourgrass run is at higher elevation the landscape is quite different from other California foothill runs. Transparent turquoise water tumbles over granite boulders and meanders through giant redwoods creating an incredible array of contrasting colors…

Read more about North Stan Whitewater.

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River Flows

River FlowsLuckily this section of the North Stan is fed by snow melt that flows into the river before the upstream Spicer Reservoir. So, in a sense, this river acts like it is “free-flowing” in April and May.

Learn more about North Stan River Flows.

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LogisticsShuttles on the North Stan are pretty easy and straightforward. And the views on the drive are quite impressive!

Keep reading about North Stanislaus Logistics.

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North Stan Video


Watch a North Stanislaus video before you see it up close.

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Places to Eat, Places to Stay
& Things To Do

Places To EatPlaces To StayThings To Do

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Local Gear Shops

Local Gear ShopsBuy gear and other supplies for your whitewater trip on the North Stan in Murphys, Bear Valley, or Online.

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