The Stanislaus was, as one advocate put it, "the last river lost." Advocacy group Friends of the River said the decade-long fight was "probably the biggest citizen effort to save a river and stop a dam in American history." Read more.
Read about FORs beginning...the fight for the Stanislaus River in a 1970s article, click here.
North Fork Stanislaus River & Highland Creek
The North Fork Stanislaus River and its major tributary, Highland Creek, is one of the premier river canyons in the Sierra Nevada. From top to bottom it provides scenic splendor, outstanding wildlife habitat, and diverse recreation opportunities. The entire river canyon is also rich in Native American cultural heritage.
Beginning one mile below New Spicer Meadows dam, Highland Creek drains a scenic glaciated granite basin until it joins the North Fork Stanislaus, an impressive river canyon forming the boundary between Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties. The North Fork cascades past granite cliffs and rugged canyon slopes blanketed with ancient conifer forests, providing rich habitat for the sensitive California spotted owl and the elusive Pacific fisher.
After flowing through miles of truly wild canyon, the North Fork passes through the popular Sourgrass campground and recreation area. Here begins a class IV-V whitewater run for expert boaters that eventually ends among the giant Sequoias of Calaveras-Big Trees Park. The state park supports one of the largest concentrations of Giant Sequoia in the central Sierra. Below the park, the North Fork tumbles its way through a nearly inaccessible and seldom visited foothill canyon, clothed in oaks and chaparral, before joining the main stem of the Stanislaus River just upstream of New Melones reservoir.
The U.S. Forest Service has recommended designation of the North Fork Stanislaus as a National Wild & Scenic River in recognition of its outstanding wildlife, scenic, recreational, and cultural/historical values.
How To Get There
From the City of Stockton on Hwy 99, drive 69 miles east on Hwy 4 to Arnold. Calaveras-Big Trees State Park is about about three miles east of Arnold on Hwy 4. A right on Parkway Road will take you to the park's campgrounds and hiking trails, and the bridge crossing the North Fork. To visit the National Forest recreation facilities upstream, continue east on Hwy 4 to the small town of Dorrington, and turn right on Forest Road 52 to access the popular Sourgrass Campground and Picnic Area on the North Fork.
Recreation And Visitor Information
For additional recreation information, contact the Forest Service's Calaveras Ranger Station at (209) 795-1381.