Canoe Down-River Overnighter

Down the Stanislaus River

Saturday - Sunday, June 30 - July 1st


Saturday, June 30th

7:15 - Meet St Justin
7:30 - Depart Santa Clara for Knights Ferry Recreation Area (100 miles)
Pick up Canoes in Livermore (2 trailers)
10:00 - Arrive Knights Ferry Recreation Area
Unload canoes and gear
Shuttle vehicles to Valley Oak Recreation Area (10 miles each way)
Snack / Lunch
Prepare canoes (tie EVERYTHING down); Launch canoes
Canoe Knights Ferry Recreation Area to Valley Oak Recreation Area (~10 miles, 6-8 hours with lunch and other stops)
Shuttle remaining vehicles to Valley Oak Recreation Area (10 miles each way)
Set up camp
Relax / Swim / Fish

Sunday, July 1st

We are no longer canoeing on Sunday due to logistics of pick up location.

Pack up camp
Load canoes on trailers
10AM (approximately) Depart Valley Oak Recreation Area to Santa Clara (90 miles)
Return Canoes in Livermore
noon-1PM (approximately) Arrive St Justin

Packing List

Canoe Trip Packing List

Also attached at bottom of page.


Any person who is 16 years of age or older must possess a valid sport fishing license when taking any fish, shell fish, reptile, or amphibian in California.

The river will be crowded between Knights Ferry and Orange Blossom.  We will not be able to fish that area.  We can fish/troll below Orange Blossom and at Valley Oak Recreation Area campground.

Adults must have a fishing license:

Webpage with full fishing details:

Section that applies to this trip:
From Knights Ferry to the confluence of the San Joaquin and Stanislaus River, fishing is popular as well, and many Central Valley residents will attest to that. The types of fish on this section are much more varied, with species of trout, salmon, carp, crappie, and bass found up and down the stream. On this entire section trout and salmon are ALWAYS protected, and are never to be kept. Above Oakdale Recreation Area (westward) only artificial lures and barbless hooks are allowed, while below Oakdale Rec. there are no bait or gear restrictions. Fishing is allowed except in November and December, when large numbers of salmon are in their spawning stage. There are multiple access points to the river (check out the park system page) for every kind of fisherman, and fish range from small (release!) to striped bass that weigh in at over 30 lbs!

River Overview

The lower Stanislaus River has an extensive Park System that is well maintained and open to public use. Knights Ferry Recreation Area, the put in for rafting trips, is a sprawling park that includes multiple picnic table and BBQ sites, river access, extensive hiking trails, and access to the oldest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River! Knights Ferry Rec. Area also is home to the Army Corps of Engineers local museum that includes local history displays as well as that of local flora and fauna. A great place to spend an afternoon checking out relics from the gold rush or to just relax along the river!

Next in the park system is Horseshoe Park, another large park about 4 miles downstream of Knights Ferry. Access to this park is off of Orange Blossom Road. The park includes riverside picnic tables, options for overnight camping, and river boating access. Horseshoe Park is a popular place for recreational boaters and kayakers to have lunch, and during weekends because a busy spot for those looking to cool off, fish, or BBQ. Permits are needed for overnight camping and can be found through the Army Corps of Engineers at 209-881-3517.

Orange Blossom Park is a large grassy park that is free for the public to use and located just 5 minutes east of Oakdale, CA. The park is a common recreational boat use area, and is the location where many commercial rafting trips end. The park includes large group sites for picnicking and BBQing that can be reserved in advance. While this park is among the most beautiful on the Stanislaus River, parking is limited, so make sure you show up early on busy days in order to nab a spot!

Between Orange Blossom and Oakdale Recreation Area is a small river-access only campground called Valley Oak. This secluded site harbors multiple group sites and is perfect for groups looking for a more secluded camping experience right along the river. Restroom and BBQ access points are located within the park.


Santa Clara to Knights Ferry Recreation Area

Knights Ferry Recreation Area

Knights Ferry Recreation Area to Valley Oak Recreation Area

Valley Oak Recreation Area

Valley Oak Recreation Area to Santa Clara

Toby McPheeters,
Jun 28, 2018, 6:52 AM