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Note: in 2017, flows will be higher than normal in May and early June due to large amounts of rain and snow in the offseason. Groups looking for faster water and bigger rapids should shoot for a May or early June trip. Those looking for a more mellow and relaxing trip should aim for later June, or the entire months of July, August and September.
Listed below is a detailed explanation of what you are going to encounter on your trip. Do remember that between the highlights are miles of beautiful river scenery, places to swim and relax, as well as small mini-rapids that will keep things exciting!
A) Knights Ferry – This is where your trip begins! Knights Ferry itself is an excellent place to explore before or after your trip. Among the town’s attractions are an old ice cream shop, a general store, a flour mill that is over 150 years old, and of course, the Knights Ferry covered bridge!
– Check-In – Once we check the number of people in your party in and collect your liability waivers, we give you your dry box and it is time to get the fun rolling! At this point, everyone gets fitted for life jackets, gets a paddle, and then huddles up for a safety talk, where we discuss the finer points of water safety before we help you launch your boat onto the water!
– Knights Ferry Boat Launch– A sandy beach is where your introduction to the water begins. The first ¼ mile of your trip will be scenic, easy floating while you hone your rafting skills!
B) Russian Rapids – Hold on to your hats! At the ¼ mile point, Russian Rapids is a class II rapid that provides excitement, yet is still perfect for those new to rafting! Rolling “haystacks” of water provide a challenge in the first mile of your trip! Prepare to get wet!
C) The Two Bluffs – Lava flows have created a unique alley where the river cuts between two cliffs that rise sharply on both sides of the river. During the summer months cliff swallows call this area their home, and you can get a close up look at hundreds of their mud-nests that dot the cliffs. This area is also a popular cliff jumping area- but we don’t recommend it!
D) Lovers Leap – Roughly 2 miles into your trip: to the left of the river a sheer rock wall with an odd peak juts out against the California sky. Tale has it that many years ago a Native American land dispute led a chieftain’s son and a warring chieftain’s daughter to jump off of this cliff into the water below to prove their love. We would kindly ask that you not follow suit as the drop is more than 200 feet. To river right is a public park area that is marked with signs. Feel free to park your boat and stretch your legs!
E) Throw Rapid – The Stanislaus River’s sneak attack! At this point in the Stanislaus, the river takes a sharp right turn, followed by a sharp left. Those who aren’t paying attention will find themselves face to face (literally) with the low hanging branches. Stop just downstream of this to watch other unknowing groups scramble to avoid the trees! We recommend staying river left.
F) Horseshoe Park – An excellent place to picnic or just stop for a break. The park itself sprawls over nearly ½ mile and has picnic tables, restrooms, a parking lot and access point, as well as a campground that can be reserved through the Corp of Engineers.
G) Honolulu Bar – Access to this is often hard to spot, although it too provides river access. Picnic tables are here as well- but the main thing to know about this spot is the fork in the river- be prepared to go left or plan to do some up-river paddling!
H) Lake Right! – The river sweets right, into a widened area that resembles a mini-lake. Feel free to float around and relax, or paddle back into the flow on the left hand side of the Stanislaus. The Orange Blossom Bridge is now only a mile away!
I) Orange Blossom – Your trip end point is marked by Orange Blossom Bridge, the only bridge you will see other than the one at the put in! Our employees will be there to greet you and help you with your equipment. Orange Blossom Park, nestled over 7 miles from Knights Ferry, has multiple picnic areas which you can rent out ahead of time. Acres of green grass shaded under trees provide a place to play volleyball, eat, or just unwind after your trip. Once you are ready, Orange Blossom Park will also be the area where you can catch a shuttle back to your car!