San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refugeupdated: August 2013
Established in 1987, the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is part of the San Luis NWR Complex, 7,000 acres in size and located in California's Stanislaus County. The Refuge is situated where three major rivers (Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin) join in the San Joaquin Valley, creating a mix of habitats that provide ideal conditions for high wildlife and plant diversity. The Refuge was initially established primarily to protect and manage habitat for the Aleutian cackling goose – a federally listed endangered species at that time. Today, the Refuge is managed with a focus on migratory birds and endangered species. The Refuge is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System which consists of over 500 refuges and forms the largest network of public lands in the world managed principally for fish and wildlife.

Visitor Activities:

  • Wildlife Viewing
    • The San Joaquin River NWR provides visitors with a variety of ways to observe and experience its diverse assortment of wildlife. The 4-mile Pelican Nature Trail and Beckwith Road wildlife viewing area provide optimal wildlife viewing opportunities year round.
  • Interpretation
    • Many interpretive amenities throughout the Refuge Complex help visitors understand the importance of Valley wildlife. Look for information kiosks, elevated viewing platforms, and interpretive panels at wildlife viewing areas and nature trails.
  • Environmental Education
    • By exploring the Complex, classes of all ages and grade levels can integrate the natural world into their classroom lessons. The San Luis NWR Visitor Center’s indoor classroom and outdoor amphitheater and wetlands are well suited to host quality curriculum-based field trips. Field trip programs are by appointment only. Field trips can also be conducted outdoors at the San Joaquin River NWR.
  • Photography
    • Whether an amateur photographer or professional, seeking mammals, birds, wildflowers, or natural landscapes, the San Joaquin River NWR provides endless opportunities for wildlife photography. Many animals are most active in the early morning and early evening hours, which coincides with terrific natural lighting.

Driving Directions:

  • Pelican Nature Trail
    • From Highway 99 in Modesto: Take the Highway 132 west exit. Travel westbound on Hwy 132 for approximately 12 miles to River Road. Turn left onto River Road and travel for approximately 3 miles to Diary Road. Turn left onto Dairy Road and continue 1.5 miles to the parking lot on the right.
    • From Interstate 5: Take the Highway 132 east exit and travel eastbound on Hwy 132 for approximately 7 miles to River Road. Turn right onto River Road and travel for approximately 3 miles to Diary Road. Turn left onto Dairy Road and continue 1.5 miles to the parking lot on the left.
  • Beckwith Rd Wildlife Observation Area (open Oct - Mar)
    • From Highway 99 in Modesto: Take the Highway 132 west exit. Travel westbound on Hwy 132 for approximately 8.5 miles. Turn right on Gates Road. Travel northbound on Gates Road for approximately 3 miles. Turn left on Beckwith Road. Travel westbound on Beckwith Road for 2 miles to the Refuge parking lot on the left side of the road.
    • From Interstate 5: Take the Highway 132 east exit and travel eastbound on Hwy 132 for approximately 10 miles. Turn left on Gates Road. Travel northbound on Gates Road for approximately 3 miles. Turn left on Beckwith Road. Travel westbound on Beckwith Road for 2 miles to the Refuge parking lot on the left side of the road.

San Luis NWR Complex Headquarters and Visitor Center

7376 S. Wolfsen Road (Do not use for mailing)
Los Banos, CA 93635
 
Mailing Address
San Luis NWR Complex
P.O. Box 2176
Los Banos, CA 93635
 
 


Contact San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge


Contact San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge


2714 Dairy Road
Vernalis, California  95385
Phone: 209-826-3508
Fax: 209-826-1445


 

Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Stanislaus County, California


To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator