San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area


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


  • Day Use (per vehicle)………..$5
  • Annual Pass…………………..$25
  • Individual Campsite…………..$10
  • Double Campsite (2 tables)….$15
  • Equestrian Campsite…………$25
  • Group Campground*…………$175
  • Nuckahee Learning Center*…$300
  • Interpretive Programs………..$10

*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.


  • Foot Bridge Trail
  • Distance: 1 Mile to Foot Bridge
  • Round Trip from Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking: 2 Miles

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!


  • Pa'san Ridge Trail
  • Distance: 6 mile loop (begins across the Foot Bridge)
  • Round Trip from Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking: 8 Miles

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.


  • Wuh-ki'o Trail
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Round Trip from Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking: 11 Miles

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.


  • San Joaquin River Trail
  • Distance: 2 miles (to BLM boundary)
  • Round Trip from Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking: 4 Miles

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.


  • River Access Trail
  • Distance: 1/2 mile
  • Round Trip from River Access Parking: 1 mile

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.


Group Camground
Group Camground
BLM Photo

Adventure is at Your Fingertips



Restrooms and campsites are fully accessible. Please call for further information regarding accessibility.

Camping and Lodging Facilities:

There are two campgrounds available. One is a Group camp with two (2) walk-in tent sites, which can accommodate up to 300 people. The other campground is located at the trail head and has six (6) walk-in tent sites, with a maximum of 8 people per site; double and triple sites are also available. However, each campground has accessible campsites which are reached via a primitive hardened path, located a short distance from the paved parking areas.

There is a large paved parking lot which can accommodate large trailers or motor homes. Drinking water is available at the campsites.

Corrals for equestrian users are also available. The corrals are very popular so you may want to call the Gorge office at 559-855-3492 for availability information.

Food and Supplies:

Food and supplies are available in Auberry. Drinking water is available at campsites. We recommend you bring your own firewood.

First Aid:

Nearest medical facility is located in the town of Clovis approximately a one hour drive from San Joaquin River Gorge. 

Additional Information:

All trails are closed to motorized use. No off-highway vehicle travel is permitted within the management area.

Target shooting is prohibited within the San Joaquin River Gorge Management Area. Hunting of game species only is allowed in accordance with the regulations of the California Department of Fish & Game.

All trails are shared by hikers, equestrian and mountain bike users with heaviest use occurring on weekends. 

6/7/2024 Notice: Bacteriological monitoring requirements not met for BLM San Joaquin River Gorge during April and May 2024. Read more.


Geographic Coordinates

37.09126667, -119.5569833


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.


The San Joaquin River Gorge is a Fee Use site and requires that fees are paid promptly upon arrival. Please see the Fee Schedule on this page for pricing. The Fee Schedule is also posted on all Kiosks on site.