River Description for Whitewater Rafting the North Fork Stanislaus
The Stanislaus is arguably the most unusual whitewater rafting river of the Central Sierra Nevada. With an overall gradient of 77 feet per mile at a beginning elevation just below the 4,000 ft mark, the North Stan is more like rafting a high mountain creek then the more commonly rafted rivers of the foothills.
Whitewater rafting starts at Sourgrass, near Dorrington and takes out at Calaveras
Big Trees State Park, just east of Arnold. The river provides five miles
of technical Class IV whitewater rafting. The action starts literally 20
yards from put-in with a steep, long, stair stepping class IV drop called
Beginner's Luck. But the fun doesn't end there, as this river tumbles over
stair stepping waterfalls and crashes through granite boulder gardens. The
action from its 13 class IV rapids and numerous class III rapids rarely
lets up. The new USFS campground put-in and Calaveras Big Trees State Park take-out
areas makes the North Fork of the Stanislaus easily accessible, yet it remains
remarkably underutilized and pristine.
Due to the unique scenic, recreation and wildlife features of this river, the United States Forest Service has recommended the North Fork of the Stanislaus for Federal Wild and Scenic status. In addition to its unique scenery and solitude, the North Fork offers an exciting adventure through an enchanting forest, rich in Native American and Gold Rush history.
Images courtesy of All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting