About the San Joaquin River Gorge

Visit the last wild portion of the San Joaquin River

Important COVID-19 Information:

FROG Friendly reminders

  • Due to BLM CA closure order in response to COVID 19 - NO PARKED VEHICLES are allowed on BLM lands at the San Joaquin River Gorge. This includes the small area of land prior to the locked gate used ONLY for TURNING AROUND. See closure order below for details, that include "The public must not enter the closure area."
    1. Some exemptions apply.

    2. The closure order does exempt trail use (trails are open) however visitors are not permitted to park a vehicle to access the trails.
    3. If individuals arrange to be dropped off/picked up to access the trail please be aware the trail system is 2.7 miles down Smalley Road. Smalley Road has a very steep grade. This is a round trip of 5.4 miles on a paved road. Also - AUTHORIZED VEHICLES are still in the area to monitor the site and access the powerhouses as essential business.
  • Vehicles attempting to park prior to BLM lands would be doing so (due to the nature of Smalley Rd.) on County and/or private lands. County regulations are in place that prohibit this.
  • Recommendation: Do not park on County/Private areas to access the SJRG and do not park on BLM lands.

For more information see the BLMCA emergency closure order here.


Welcome to the San Joaquin River Gorge Recreation Area, one of the Central Valley's best kept secrets! Come explore the last scenic and wild portion of the San Joaquin River. Connect with nature through an abundance of outdoor opportunities for families, friends, scouts and more.

Getting here is easy and accessible by paved roads all year round! The San Joaquin River Gorge is rich in outdoor fun activities, significant natural, cultural and historic resources and is a rare Sierra Nevada transition zone, very important for the vigor of nature, health of wildlife and retreat for people.

Friends of the SJRG

The San Joaquin River Gorge Recreation Area is managed by the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Friends Of the San Joaquin River Gorge (Fr.O.G), is a non-profit 501(c)(3) established to assist the BLM.

Fr.O.G's mission is to ignite, inspire and cultivate visitor’s connection with local nature, culture and history. Our organization is designed to engage, foster stewardship and promote ethical preservation of natural, cultural and historic resources. Join us as we connect partners, patrons, visitors and volunteers to our communities via evocative educational, interactive and hands-on experiences.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

BLM manages public lands to maximize opportunities for commercial, recreational, and conservation activities. This promotes healthy and productive public lands that create jobs in local communities while supporting traditional land uses such as energy development, timber harvesting, grazing, and recreation, including hunting and fishing.

For more information about BLM, visit their site here.

What's Here to Explore

In a deep canyon near the geographic center of California, the San Joaquin River Gorge divides Fresno and Madera Counties with 6,770 acres ready for hiking, picnicking, hunting, kayaking, biking, exploring nature, and equestrian, family and group campsites.

Scenic trails on the Madera County side of the river offer a six-mile hiking loop along the ridge with a four-mile trail along the river. The sixteen-mile San Joaquin River Trail begins on the Fresno side.

Discover displays, a gift shop, an outdoor classroom and occasional guided programs at the Visitor Center.

Explore a reproduction of an indigenous village with sweat lodge, cedar bark houses and an acorn granary. Investigate a nearby bedrock mortar acorn-processing site and a simulated archaeological excavation station.

There is something for everyone to discover, have fun and enjoy year round!