California > Stanislaus Rafting - Calaveras Big Trees State Park
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Stanislaus Rafting - Calaveras Big Trees State Park

1 Day from $144
Trip Highlights
  • Stanislaus River rafting provides an incredible California whitewater adventure
  • Paddle through the Giant Sequoia groves of Calaveras Big Trees State Park
  • An average gradient of 70 feet per mile means the rapids come quickly on this river!
  • Aggressive paddling through tumultuous whitewater rapids like Dig Dog, Whiteout, Rattlesnake & Big Trees Falls
  • High Sierra Nevada river thunders through six miles of granite gorges & deep alpine forest glens
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4.5

(2 reviews)

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveller Best of the Bay Area Winner
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Call Toll Free: 800-346-6277 or enter the month and year you want to go on this trip.
The season runs April - June.


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Departure Dates

Daily April – June

Price

20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More! (call for details)

Weekdays! $144

Weekends: $170

Additional Costs:
$8 per person per day federal, state and local access fees
Wetsuits required on all early-season trips


River Rating Minimum Age
Class IV14 (16 during high water)
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North Fork Stanislaus River Rafting: Overview

Download Itinerary

The North Fork of the Stanislaus River boasts some of the most technical Class IV whitewater rafting in California. A veritable insta-epic, the North Fork of the Stanislaus River (also known as the “Stan”) starts at 4,000 feet and hurtles six miles, at a 70 feet per mile gradient, down to the feet of some of the most massive trees you'll ever see — the Giant Sequoia groves of Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Northern California. Granite gorges, meadows of wild azaleas and old Miwok Indian sites slip by one after another, amidst big waves, churning holes and plenty of technically demanding paddling. For hard working paddlers with a taste for thrills, chills and spills — rafting the North Fork Stanislaus River in Northern California is a slice of wild whitewater heaven.

North Fork Stanislaus River Rafting: Itinerary at a Glance

  • Meet at Calaveras Big Trees State Park and shuttle to our put-in at Sourgrass Crossing for the beginning of our North Fork Stanislaus River Rafting trip
  • With an average gradient of 70 feet per mile, the tumultuous rapids come quickly, starting with Beginner's Luck which drops over 15 feet
  • The rest of the morning is spent sharpening paddling skills and maneuvering speeding rafts through chutes, around boulders and over sudden thrilling drops
  • Dig Dog, Whiteout and Rattlesnake are waiting to challenge eager paddlers and send rafts rushing through turbulent whitewater
  • After a rousing morning of some of the best rafting in California, spend some time relaxing alongside the river while enjoying a delicious lunch
  • More aggressive paddling through frothy rapids delivers accomplished river enthusiasts to the take-out for our North Fork Stanislaus River Rafting trip in the heart of Big Trees State Park
  • Enjoy the remainder of the day hiking and exploring the Giant Sequoia groves

20% Discount for Groups of 12 or More!
Call 1.800.446.7238 or 1.209.736.2597

O.A.R.S. West, Inc. operates on the North Fork of the Stanislaus River as a permitted outfitter under the Stanislaus National Forest.

Show Mile By Mile Guide

Rafting the North Fork of the Stanislaus River:
Mile by Mile Guide

Mile 0
BEGINNER’S LUCK (IV-V) Put-in (start)  O.A.R.S. North Fork Stanislaus Whitewater Rafting trips. Beginner’s Luck is often the most challenging rapid of the day.  However, the lower half of the run is extremely thrilling with steep, continuous whitewater.

Prior to excessive rainfall in 1997, the action started with Sourgrass Ravine (Class V), however, the North Fork Stan was drastically altered after flooding caused a large landslide.  Your California whitewater rafting trip on the North Fork Stanislaus River starts with Beginner’s Luck rapid.  This is a staircase-like rapid in which the first drop is followed by a steep ramp and a large hole.  The second drop is typically run as far left as possible.  However, the choice of routes varies depending on the river’s flow.
Mile 0.8
BODY SLAM (IV)  There is a technical entrance to this rapid, especially at low water flows.  You will make a hard push to the left to avoid a 6-foot wide by 6-foot high pour-over.  Go over the top and you get "Body Slammed."
Mile 1.0
BEAR CLAW (III+)  "Chunky" run in the main current with a few "pin" rocks. There is a hidden line on the left bank that is really fun.
Mile 1.5
SHOTGUN (III)  There is a technical entrance with a lot of acceleration along a granite slab on the left side of the river.
Mile 2.0
Board’s Crossing.  There is a private dirt road and a bridge which crosses the river.
Mile 3.0
THE SLOT (IV) Several routes are possible depending on the river’s flow.  Listen to your guide and paddle hard!
Mile 3.3
THE PLUNGE (IV)  There is an 8-foot slanting waterfall with a big hole at the bottom on the left side of the river.  There is a collection of rock jumbles on river right.
Mile 4.0
THE THING or CONVULSION (IV+) The “thing”, found in the middle of the river, is a spouting rock that resembles a rooster tail.
Mile 4.2
WHITEOUT (IV)  Numerous car sized boulders make it virtually impossible to see the bottom of this rapid.  After navigating the top there are three ways out of the rapid:  Door #1, #2 or #3.   Door #1 is the most fun with a 5-foot "spout" waterfall.  Doors #2 and #3 involve a lot of technical maneuvering.
Mile 4.4
SURF LEDGES (III)  There are consistent re-circulating holes that are great for surfing.
Mile 4.6
UPPER SEQUOIA (IV+)  This is an "s-turn" type of rapid.  The entrance to the rapid begins on river right.  There is a hard left move followed by a hard right move.
Mile 4.8
LOWER SEQUOIA (IV+)  Big boulders make for a technical entrance with a hard move from left to right with a 5-foot "spout" to finish.
Mile 5.0
BIG TREES FALLS (IV)  Line up on the right then enjoy the ride of this 12-foot slanting chute.

There are consistent Class II+ rapids until you reach the end of your North Fork of the Stanislaus whitewater rafting experience in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Take out/end. Hot/cold drinks and a return shuttle to your vehicle await at the take-out of your O.A.R.S. North Fork Stan River rafting trip.

Information for this Mile by Mile guide was gathered from the books "California Whitewater," "A Guide to the Best Whitewater in the State of California" and from a variety of sources on the Internet.

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“I have taken many guided trips, both rafting and non-rafting. The North Fork Stan trip was the best one-day trip I have ever experienced. Chris (lead guide) did an excellent job, in both guiding my raft and group organization and safety. The other guides were also very good. The river was my type, also.”
Russ Callen ~ Atlanta, GA

“Great guides and company personnel. Wonderful river and great scenery. It was great!”
Tim Wernette and Carolyn Brown ~ Tucson, AZ

North Fork Stanislaus River Rafting - 1 Day Trip Planner

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Average Temperatures
Month Low High
April 39° 66°
May 44° 74°
June 49° 81°
Water Temperatures
Seasonal Average: 40° F



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Company Info

Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact info@oars.com or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
©2014
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222