Camping is one of the most popular recreation activities in the Stanislaus National Forest. The ideal camping time in most Forest areas is May to October, prior to winter storm activity. Although limited, reservation campgrounds are available, however the majority of Forest campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first serve system.
Fishing is available in many streams, rivers and lakes throughout the Forest. Portions of Basin Creek, Beaver Creek, Deadman Creek, Lyons Reservoir, Moccasin Creek, and the Stanislaus, Clark Fork, and Tuolumne Rivers are usually stocked with fish each year. The hundreds of lakes and streams in the Emigrant Wilderness are also good trout fishing areas. Cherry and Beardsley Lakes are well-suited for motorized boats and water-skiing. The smaller lakes such Pinecrest and Lake Alpine are more suitable for sailboats and canoes.
Aquamarine lakes and streams, wildflowers, spectacular vistas, and unique geological formations await hikers and nature lovers in the Stanislaus National Forest. Hikers, horseback riders, and backpackers have 480 miles of trails, and over 1000 miles of unsurfaced roads available for their use and enjoyment.
Whitewater enthusiasts might consider a trip down the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River on the Groveland Ranger District, or the North Fork Stanislaus River on the Calaveras Ranger District. Both rivers are very technical (Class IV and V) and suited for experienced boaters. You can organize a rafting trip on your own, or arrange a trip with a commercial rafting company.
The Stanislaus National Forest offers many opportunities for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) including four-wheel drives, ATVs and motorcycles. Off-highway travel is restricted to designated routes.
Whether your idea of winter fun is skiing, snow play or snowmobiling, the Stanislaus National Forest has many areas for winter sports. Two ski areas operate under special use permits on the Forest: Bear Valley via Highway 4; and, Dodge Ridge via Highway 108. Several Nordic ski trails, of varying difficulty, exist at Bear Valley on Highway 4 and near Pinecrest on Highway 108. Many other Forest roads also provide excellent Nordic skiing opportunities.