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Stanislaus River-Sourgrass Recreation Area

The Sourgrass Recreation Area provides ready access to the beautiful and untamed North Fork Stanislaus River, which has been determined to be eligible for listing as a national Wild and Scenic river. The complex includes a day use area with picnic tables, BBQs and restrooms, as well as a 49-site U.S. Forest Service campground known as Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo.

The Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo campground was so named because it was built on the site of an ancient MiWuk (the Calaveras group of Miwok preferred spelling) Indian village. The MiWuk word “WaKaLuu” means river, and “Hep Yoo” describes an untamed or wild force of nature. For over 2,000 years, the MiWuk people lived seasonally on this site in the North Fork Stanislaus River canyon, gathering food and fishing the river. The campground was designed around the archaeological site in partnership with the local MiWuk tribe. Significant Native American features such as grinding stones and middens have been preserved in and around the campground. The fountainhead, or takeout, for the Union Water Company ditch and flume system, is located about one mile upstream. Three of the logs which once formed the crib dam, erected in 1853, can be seen protruding from the river, and the eyebolts for the flume are still embedded in the granite. At the river you can see the ending point of the 1997 Sourgrass Debris Flow.

Take Note: Be extra cautious near the river as rocks and trails may be slippery, and the river can be swift and unforgiving when the water is high. Swimming is not recommended.

Linger Longer:

Sourgrass Recreation Area provides ready access to the beautiful and untamed North Fork Stanislaus River. Bring a picnic, and spend the better part of a day exploring the river environs, including hiking river shore trails upstream or downstream, fly fishing, or if you are really adventurous (and highly experienced), rafting or kayaking on this segment of Class IV+ whitewater.
  • Elevation: 3,960 ft.
  • Mile Marker: 5.2/55.8 (turnoff)
  • GPS Coordinates: 38 19 18N -120 12 57W
  • Service Available: Boating, Camping, Car Clubs, Fishing, HIking, Picnicking, Native American, Accessible