San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area

Bureau of Land Management, California.

Emergency Closure 6/7/2023

Due to high water and hazardous conditions, portions of the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Area are closed within 100 feet of the river for public safety. This closure is effective immediately and will remain in effect until conditions allow for safe use of the area again. Day use and camping facilities remain open.

Read the full closure order here:


The scenic San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area straddles the San Joaquin River just upstream from Millerton Lake State Recreation Area and includes lands in both Fresno and Madera Counties. Multiple campground and day-use sites are available for your enjoyment including: Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh Campground, Aholul Group Campground, Equestrian Campground, River Access Day-Use, and a Visitor Center with extensive opportunities for educational experiences for visitors, schools, and other groups. With over 20 miles of outstanding multi-use trails that weave there way through the management area, there is a route awaiting your next adventure.


Fee Schedule


*The Group Campground and Nuckahee Learning Center require reservations. Please contact the Bakersfield Field Office for more information.


Trails of the Gorge

The Dumna and Kechayi Native Americans once called the Gorge home and are still active in the area, practicing their cultural traditions which include ceremonies on site. It is from their language that we derive the names of the trails contained within the Management Area. All trails are multi-use, shared by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users. Motorized use on trails is prohibited.


The Foot Bridge is one of the most sought-after sites here at the San Joaquin River Gorge. Please remember while the slope is gradual downhill to the Bridge, it is up-hill on the way back. Be sure to plan accordingly and bring plenty of water!


The Pa'san (pine nut) Ridge Trail is a six-mile loop trail. This trail takes one into the chaparral clothed uplands where they will encounter mountain lilac (ceanothus), manzanita, mountain mahogany, and many other shrubs and wildflowers.


The Wuh-ki'o (Dumna/Kechayi word for San Joaquin River) Trail starts from the west side of the loop on the Pa'san Ridge Trail. About four miles long, it connects with Millerton Lake State Recreation Area on the Madera County side of the reservoir. The trail follows along the river and leads the traveler through oak woodlands with their mixture of foothill pines, shrubs and numerous wildflowers.


A portion of the San Joaquin River Trail (SJRT). Access to the trail is across the road from the Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking and guides you into the Millerton Lake State Recreation Area. When complete the San Joaquin River Trail will eventually connect Highway 99 to the Pacific Crest Trail near the Devils Postpile National Monument. Portions of the trail cover prehistoric trade routes of the Mono Indians.


A short switchback trail leading down to the San Joaquin River's edge through the oak woodlands and grass understory. Day use parking is available at this trail head.

Nearby Activities


40060 Smalley Road, Auberry, California

The San Joaquin River Gorge Recreation Area is located approximately five (5) miles northwest of the town of Auberry. Google Maps accurately locates the visitor center.

From Fresno, take CA-168 north. One mile after the town of Prather, turn left onto Auberry Road. Follow Auberry Road 2.9 miles through the town of Auberry and turn left at the "Y" onto Powerhouse Road. After 1.8 miles, turn left onto Smalley Road and follow it down into the recreation area.

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