Valley Oak Recreation Area

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Overview

Valley Oak Campground is part of the park system scattered along the lower Stanislaus River within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The environmental campground boasts quiet, peaceful tent sites situated next to the river’s edge. The scenic recreation areas and river access points are popular for activities such as rafting, picnicking, hiking and much more. Stanislaus River Parks is often referred to as the “string of pearls” since they serve as charming, quiet oasis running through a number of small towns and cities. 

Recreation

The campground offers an excellent base camp for exciting recreation opportunities. The park boasts walking and hiking trails, picnic areas and river access points for fishing and boating.  

Facilities

Valley Oak Recreation Area Campground is one of the three reservation campgrounds in Stanislaus River Parks’ system. Its primitive amenities include vault toilets and non-potable water near the campsites. Each campsite contains a picnic table, fire ring, and a lantern holder. Campers park their vehicles in the front lot and walk approximately, a quarter mile to their campsites. 

Natural Features

The campground scenery is a pleasant mix of Fremont cottonwoods, Valley Oak and the occasional elderberry bush, offering excellent shade with dispersed rays of sunshine. Nearby, grasses, shrubs and seasonal wildflowers fill the open spaces.

Wildlife is also plentiful in the park with mule deer, acorn woodpeckers, scrub jays, foxes and squirrels among lots of other fauna. 

Nearby Attractions

Within a short 15 min drive, campers can explore the historic town of Knights Ferry, rich with history of the gold rush era. Within the historic district, lies Knights Ferry Recreation Area, home to the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River and a National Historic Landmark dedicated in 2014. The park boasts walking and hiking trails, picnic areas and river access points. Visitors can learn about the area when they visit the Knights Ferry Information Center, which contains a small museum highlighting local, natural, and cultural resources.

Visitors have a unique opportunity to make reservations with local rafting companies to journey down the Stanislaus River. During the summer months, rafters can enjoy guided and self-guided floats down the lower Stanislaus River. For thrill seekers, the fall season brings perfect flows for advanced white water in the Goodwin Canyon. 

Fall also brings thousands of Chinook salmon returning to the Stanislaus River to spawn, completing and beginning their lifecycles. Onlookers, can view the spawning salmon from several river access points along the river. 

Charges & Cancellations

Contact Recreation.gov for changes or cancellations.

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