Goodwin Dam to Knight’s Ferry

Length: 4 miles
Class: IV – V
Gradient: 30 ft/mile
Permits: none

Season: Fall Releases
Recommended Flows:
400 to 5000 cfs at Orange Bloosom Bridge
8 minutes / 5.1 miles
Flow Information: Scheduled Releases


The Goodwin Canyon run on the Stanislaus River is a fantastic fall run. It is close to the Bay Area and is one of the few runs that has a release at the end of September and early October. The release is for the Salmon, which are fun to see spawning in the gravel beds between the rapids. There are also releases other times of the year but this is typically reserved for the fall to have something new to run. Goodwin Canyon has some violent drops. If you are running a paddle boat know how to not get thrown forward.

A good option is to run it on the way up to paddle Cherry Creek for the weekend.

Stanislaus River Rafting Itinerary:

Mile 0: Goodwin Canyon Put-in

Put-in after walking a 100+ yards to the river from Tulloch Dam Road at the Goodwin Dam Recreation Area. From put-in there is fun eddy hopping down to the pool above Mr. Toad’s.

Mile 0.25: Mr. Toad’s Rapid (V)

At low water after a technical entrance, boaters work left to avoid a nasty undercut cave on the right. Below here is a fun little rapid Surf City. Keep an eye out for Matterhorn.

Stanislaus River Goodwin Canyon paddle raft in the middle of Matterhorn rapid
Matterhorn Rapid

Mile 1: Matterhorn (V-VI)

At low water Matterhorn has a vertical drop onto some rocks. Kayaks scout and portage on the left with a fun seal launch. Rafts can line/portage on the left. At around 1000 cfs Matterhorn starts to open up a little more. After Matterhorn are some for fun rapids.

Stanislaus River through Goodwin Canyonr
Haunted House

Mile 2: Haunted House (IV-V)

Haunted House is tricky for rafts particularly around 1000 cfs. Below the first drop which flips lots of boats is the Room of Doom on the river left side. It is a nasty little recirculating hole.

Mile 2.5: Air Mattress (IV)

Fun drop that flushes well. After this the rivers becomes mellow.

Mile 4.0: Take out – Stanislaus Rivers Park – Covered Bridge

The take-out is in the park on river right just before the Knight’s Ferry bridge.

Recommended Books

Great descriptions on the classic rafting runs of the west.