McHenry Recreation Area is a park located at Stanislaus Lower, approximately 24100 East River Road, near the McHenry Road intersection.
This park, the lowest (and westernmost) park on the Stanislaus River, provides access to the river, multiple parking lots and overnight camping. The flow of rivers in the park is generally mild and ideal for splashing and cooling during the summer months, but remember to always consult the flow (left sidebar) before venturing into the river.
The park has access to picnic tables and toilet facilities, and camping reservations can be made by calling 209-881-3517. While this area is popular for people on float tubes, due to low flows in this area during the summer months, river rafting is not very popular in this area.
Picnickers and campers are welcome to take their dogs to the park as long as they are on leash. Clean up after your dog, please. The campground is located beneath the willow and the cotton trees that provide plenty of shade. Enjoy walking the nature trails along the popular sandy beach swimming areas.
McHenry Avenue Campground is part of a park system scattered along the lower Stanislaus River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The environmental campground boasts quiet , peaceful tents on the edge of the river. Scenic recreation areas and river access points are popular for activities such as rafting, picnic, hiking and much more. Stanislaus River Parks is often referred to as the “string of pearls” because they serve as a charming, quiet oasis through a number of small towns and cities.
McHenry Avenue Recreation Area Campground is one of the three reserve campgrounds in the Stanislaus River Parks system. Its amenities include flush toilets and drinking water in the vicinity of the campsites. Each camp site includes a picnic table, a fire ring and a lantern holder. Campers park their vehicles in the front lot and walk about a quarter mile to their campsites.
The campground scenery is a lovely blend of Fremont cottonwood, Valley Oak and the occasional elderberry bush, offering an excellent shade with scattered sunlight. Nearby, grasses, shrubs and seasonal wildflowers fill the open space. Wildlife is also abundant in the park with mule deer, acorn woodpeckers, scrub jays, foxes and squirrels among a lot of other wildlife.
Within 35 min drive, campers can explore the historic town of Knights Ferry, rich in the history of the Gold Rush era. The Knights Ferry Recreation Area, home to the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River and the National Historic Landmark dedicated to 2014, is part of the historic district. The park features walking and hiking trails, picnic areas and river access points. Visitors can learn more about the area by visiting the Knights Ferry Information Center, a small museum featuring local, natural and cultural resources.
Visitors have a unique opportunity to book a trip down the Stanislaus River with local rafting companies. During the summer months, the rafters can enjoy guided and self-guided floats along the lower Stanislaus River. To thrill-seekers, the fall season brings the perfect flow of advanced white water to the Goodwin Canyon.
Fall also brings thousands of Chinook salmon back to the Stanislaus River to spawn, complete and begin their life cycles. You can see the spawning salmon from a few river access points along the river.