Stanislaus National Forest

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General Information

The Stanislaus National Forest is located in North-Eastern California, just north of Yosemite, and just west of Nevada. The forest offers a multitude of season-round recreational activities and is a great place to come for a family vacation, or to learn about nature and wildlife.

To name just a few of the possible activities at the forest, you can go swimming, fishing, kayaking or river rafting, hiking (pleasant nature walks or serious back-country trekking), camping, horseback riding, and much more. That does not even include the multitude of possible fun Winter activities.

Overall, the forest encompasses just under 900,000 acres on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Located between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, the forest landscape is a continuum of natural and scenic beauty that defines the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada. The natural spectacles are quite impressive. The area is home to high, snow-capped mountains, beautiful clear lakes, dense forests, and steep canyons.

visitors discover connections with nature and the spirit of the Sierra Nevada. A mere two hour drive from the Great Central Valley and three hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, makes the Forest a very popular destination place.


We currently do not have any record of trailheads in this park.

Routes and Trails You Can Travel

We currently do not have any record of good routes in this park.


Hiking at the forest is quite varied. Serious hikers like the area for the possibilities of tremendous gains in elevation while hiking. The elevation at the forest ranges from 1,500 to over 11,000 feet above sea level so even the toughest of hikers can find a challenge.


Climate and Weather

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As mentioned earlier, the forest is quite varied due to the very large changes in elevation, and simply because the forest spans over a very large plot of land. Lower elevations tend to have more of the hot and dry climate while higher elevation tend to be cooler in temperature due to the melting snow.


Prior to western people moving to the area that is now the Stanislaus National Forest, the are was home to native people called the Miwok. The Miwok people were highly adapted to the environment and climate of the Sierras, and were able to move around throughout the area as the weather conditions changed.

The Gold Rush of 1848 altered the landscape of the Sierra because mining for gold required the building of structures like ditches and levies to reroute the flow of the water. After the Gold Rush was over, another rush began. This time it was to cut down the forests to sell as building materials.

The modern history of Stanislaus National Forest, like many of the parks and forest in the area of Northern California, starts during the early days of the Gold Rush when people began migrating west in search of gold and adventures. As people began moving to the area, they also began settling the first cities and communities. These communities needed to cut down much of the original forested lands in order to build homes and tools out of wood.

At the turn of the 20th century, the scientific community began raising alarms about the losses of the forests and the need to preserve the original habitat of the land for future generations to see, and to minimize damage to the ecology of the area. President Theodore Roosevelt helped establish many of the parks and forests as state and national treasures meant for habitat preservation and recreation. That helped save many of the Northern California parks and forests we are able to enjoy today.


Due to the tremendous changes in elevation and climate throughout the forest, there is great variety of animals that make their home here.


There are many different species of birds at the forest. Some of the more interesting species are Bald Aagle and the Peregrine Falcon.


The forest is more dense at higher elevations as the trees get more water from the melting snow caps. Common trees that can be seen here are different types of firs, pines and unique sub-alpine vegetation.


Other Plants

Camping Possibilities

Other Information


Driving Directions

There are three main highway corridors to and inside the forest:

1) Route 120 to the south.
2) Route 108 along the middle fork of the Stanislaus River.
3) Route 4 to the north.

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Hiking or Walking Groups Nearby

Group Name: Sacramento Backpacking

Group Description: Sacramento-area based group with a preference for multiple-day excursions into the backcountry.

Group Name: Hike Mammoth Lakes!

Group Description: wish to create hiking groups that will explore the Mammoth Lakes Basin area. Various established hiking trails from beginner to high altitude conditioned trail hound! Contact me on Twitter or Myspace @SierraJewel! Lets go hike!!!

Upcoming Hikes

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Past Hikes

Yosemite NP This Weekend! | 52 km away

Date: Friday, 6-24-2011

Description: There are 2, with 2 different days and times: Chilnualna Falls Friday AM; A rather uphill, 4 mile one-way hike to outrageous flowing water not normally seen in Yosemite, plus fishing for true "gems"...gorgeous, natural Rainbow trout in pools above the Falls. All "jewels" experience CPR: Catch, Photograph, and Release. Come Saturday: One of the best, best views in all of the Yosemite Valley area, without having to ascend Half Dome: Sentinel Dome instead! It's a 1.5 mile, quite easy-to-moderate-at-the-end stroll/hike...sssshhhhh! Keep this one close to you...so much worth the bit of effort!