Stanislaus National Forest contains 898,099 acres (1,403.3 sq mi; 3,634.5 km2) in four counties in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. It was established on February 22, 1897, making it one of the oldest national forests. It was named after the Stanislaus River.
It is located primarily in eastern Tuolumne County, adjacent to the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park, but parts of it extend (in descending order of forestland area) into southern Alpine, northern Mariposa, and eastern Calaveras counties. The Emigrant Wilderness is located entirely within its boundaries. Portions of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, including the Dardanelles Cone, and the Mokelumne Wilderness are also within the Stanislaus National Forest.
It contains 78 lakes, and 811 miles (1,305.2 km) of rivers and streams. It has 1,100 miles (1,770.3 km) of non-motorized trails, and 2,859 miles (4,601.1 km) of roads, 188 miles (302.6 km) of which are paved. The Forest contains some 139,000 acres (560 km2) of old growth, which includes Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi), and White Fir (Abies concolor).
The proximity of the Stanislaus National Forest to the San Francisco Bay area makes it a popular recreation destination. The stunning volcanic and granite formations in the wilderness are somewhat marred by the heavy cattle grazing, a shock to many backpackers. Exceptional whitewater rafting and kayaking can be found in the wild and scenic Tuolumne River and Cherry Creek. Other beautiful rivers flowing out of the Stanislaus include the Clavey River the Stanislaus River, and the Merced River along the southern boundary.
Two ski resorts Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley operate here under a special use permit. Forest headquarters are located in Sonora, California. There are local ranger district offices in Groveland, Hathaway Pines, Mi-Wuk Village, and Pinecrest.