Stanislaus River Overlook


Difficulty 2 Beginner-intermediate
Length 2.4 miles round trip
6550 feet
+200, -200 feet round trip
Navigation Marked trail, road and map
Time Several hours
Season Mid-December through early April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Tamarack
Start Highway 4, 1.2 miles east of the Cabbage Patch Highway Maintenance Station. Park in the U-shaped pullout on the south side of the highway.


This is a fantastic beginner-intermediate tour with outrageous vistas to the south down into and across the Stanislaus River drainage. The chasm that cradles the river is huge and you can see Highland Creek descending to it. Off in the distance are the unmistakable Dardanelles.

Image from Stanislaus River Overlook of Dardanelles View from Stanislaus River Overlook

The entire little dome, on which the overlook is located, has excellent terrain for practicing downhill techniques on short, modest slopes covered with scattered trees. It's a perfect place to visit on a lovely spring day when turning will seem effortless.

Image of small dome at Stanislaus River Overlook Little dome at Stanislaus River Overlook

On your return back to the starting point, you can take a short side trip to visit a small ridge that affords another nice place to ski.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.5
Elevation change: Nil

From the trailhead (1) ski east and parallel to the highway, pick up the marked road after a short distance, and follow it east for a total of 0.5 mile until you reach the east end of the campground (2). The Big Meadow Campground tour contains more details about skiing in the campground.

Miles: 0.5 - 0.8
Elevation change: +50 feet

A very short distance to the east of the campground, cross a creek, pick up a road after crossing the creek and then follow the road southeast for a total of 0.3 miles until you reach a high point (3) at the east end of a small ridge. However, locating the road may be difficult and there is no bridge across the creek. If you can't located the road or you can't cross the creek, ski parallel to the creek until you intersect the highway, cross the creek at the highway, then ski south through woods until you intersect the snow-covered road. Also, be aware that the "high point" is only 50 feet higher than the surrounding terrain so you must pay attention.

If you can navigate this section, the rest of the tour should be easy for you to follow. You can also add a ski along the small, short ridge to the west of the high point.

Miles: 0.8 - 0.9
Elevation change: -50 feet

Continue south on the snow-covered road for 0.1 mile until you reach a distinct turn in the road to the east (left) (4).

Miles: 0.9 - 1.0
Elevation change: Nil

Continue east on the snow-covered road for 0.1 mile until you reach the location where you leave the road (5). There is no landmark at this point; if you find yourself descending then you have gone too far.

Miles: 1.0 - 1.2
Elevation change: +100 feet

Leave the road and ski south up a gradual slope for 0.2 mile until you reach the Stanislaus River Overlook (6). Don't hesitate to explore and enjoy the skiing on the dome on which the overlook is located.

Image from Stanislaus River Overlook Another outstanding view from Stanislaus River Overlook

Miles: 1.2 - 1.5
Elevation change: -100 feet

Loop around the dome and then descend for a total of 0.3 mile until you reach the snow-covered road (7) you had skied earlier.

Miles: 1.5 - 2.4
Elevation change: +50, -50 feet

Retrace the route for 0.9 mile back to the trailhead (1).


Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Elevation profile button
Elevation profile button
Link to full page map
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