San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

California

(209) 826-3508

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 6,500 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands that host a diversity of wildlife native to California's Central Valley.

Established in 1987 under the authority of the Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Conservation Acts, the refuge has also played a major role in the recovery of Aleutian cackling geese. Within the borders of the San Joaquin refuge is one of California's largest riparian forest restoration projects: 400,000 native trees have been planted across 1,700 acres of river floodplain. Riparian forests, which once covered large portions of California's Central Valley, have been greatly reduced due to state and federal water projects and diversions. The San Joaquin River refuge's important riparian habitat is host to many rare animals. Swainson's hawks nest in the canopy of tall cottonwood trees. Herons and cormorants form communal nesting colonies within the tops of the large oaks on Christman Island. Endangered riparian brush rabbits have been reintroduced to their historic habitat from captive-reared populations.

Map of San Joaquin River NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 37.614231, -121.195679

READ MORE

Activities

  • Bird Watching

    The San Joaquin River NWR's important riparian habitat is host to many rare animals. Swainson's hawks nest in the canopy of tall cottonwood trees. Herons and cormorants form communal nesting colonies within the tops of the large oaks on Christman Island. The woodlands also support a diversity of breeding songbirds including grosbeaks, orioles, flycatchers, warblers, as well as least Bell's vireos - a threatened species which last nested in the San Joaquin Valley over 50 years ago.

    A wildlife viewing platform along Beckwith Road is a favorite location for viewing the Aleutian cackling geese along with other waterbirds from October through March.

  • Hiking

    The Pelican Nature Trail is a 3.8-mile foot-access nature trail that meanders through seasonal wetlands, restored riparian woodlands and old-growth valley oak stands. The trailhead features interpretive kiosks and picnic areas. Open sunrise to sunset daily.

  • Picnicking

    There is a picnic area at the trailhead for the Pelican Nature Trail.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Look for wildlife along the Pelican Nature Trail.

    Endangered riparian brush rabbits have been reintroduced here to their historic habitat from captive-reared populations.

Directions

Driving

The limited facilities of San Joaquin River Refuge can be reached by driving 8 miles west of Modesto on State Highway 132, north on Gates Road, and west on Beckwith Road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(209) 826-3508

Links