Knights Ferry, CA Near Oakdale, CA

The Central Valley is such a beautiful area to work and play! If you haven’t had a chance to explore Knights Ferry in Oakdale, CA, this is your inspiration to put it on your list of places to visit. Knights Ferry has an interesting history with the California Gold Rush as its backdrop. Knights Ferry is a town of about 100 residents who hosts a beautiful park and recreation area. But more on that in a minute. 


We’d love to share a bit of the history of Knights Ferry and give you a tour of what you need to see when you visit.

The History of Knights Ferry, California 

Now Knights Ferry is a historic unincorporated town located on the Stanislaus River. It was founded in 1849 by Dr. William Knight during the 1848 California Gold Rush. Originally, Dr. Knight partnered with James Valentine, and the two established the area as a ferry stop for gold seekers to cross the river quickly and safely. This town is nestled between the Sierra foothill, a gold hot-spot, and the Stockton port. Soon, Knights Ferry was the go-to place to get across the river to reach the gold mining area.

As the Gold Rush subsided, Knights Ferry went from a gold rush town to an industrial town. In 1854, David Locke created a flour mill in the town and built a successful business. Without the need for constant ferry service across the river, in 1857, Locke helped build a bridge over the river for people to cross. The current bridge is 330 feet and is the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi River! 

In the next few decades, the town lost its industrial importance because the Stockton-Visalia railroad construction was completed in Oakdale, CA. Businesses and communities started to sprout up near Modesto and Oakdale, leading Knights Ferry to become the quaint town today. 

Rafting Down the Stanislaus River

This area features a popular beginner-friendly rafting site. In fact, it’s a sought-after rafting spot in Northern California. The part of the Stanislaus River that runs from Knights Ferry all the way to Orange Blossom Park is about 7 miles and features mild rapids. It’s perfect for someone seeking adventure but not wanting to navigate challenging rapids. From your raft, you’ll be able to see the Sierra Nevada foothills, volcanic bluff, and multiple parks for picnic stops. For more information on rafting, visit Sunshine Rafting.

What to See at Knights Ferry Today

The location and history of Knights Ferry, CA, make it a beautiful place to visit and relax. The park features open spaces and picnic areas to enjoy with your family, along with hiking trails to take in the scenery. 

The iconic bridge is a popular destination for visitors. Vehicles are no longer allowed to drive on the bridge, but it’s perfect for pedestrians to cross the river and imagine what it was like to cross the river back in the 1800s. 

Of course, if you visit you must take a stroll through the town. Not only can you enjoy relics of the 1848 California Gold Rush, but there are restaurants and shops for you to experience. With so many choices, where should you go?

Where to Eat in Knights Ferry, CA

These are the four top spots to dine in the town with something for everyone to enjoy. 

The River’s Edge Restaurant & Bar – Seated right on the Stanislaus River, this restaurant and bar offers an array of food choices for every palette. Make sure to sit outside and take in the view of the beautiful river. Visit their website.

The 50’s Roadhouse – This 50s themed bar and restaurant is an American-styled diner with all your favorites. It’s located just outside of town. Perfect for a place to eat on your way in or your way out. Visit their website.

The Knights Ferry Creamery – Who wouldn’t need a sweet treat after exploring Knights Ferry all day? This beloved ice cream store is located in the middle of town and is a short walk from the river. Visit their Facebook.

Knights Ferry General Store, Saloon, and Grille – If you’re looking for a blast from the past experience, look no further! The General Store is one of the oldest establishments in the town! Come on in, and imagine how gold enthusiasts felt back in the day. Visit their website.

Senior and Family Portraits at Knights Ferry, CA 

This scenic area creates the perfect backdrop for family or senior portraits! Your family portrait could feature several iconic backdrops that are totally unique to this area. The covered bridge, idyllic river, and rustic town make for the perfect California-inspired background.

Certified Professional Photographer Rachael Venema offers a full-service portrait photography experience for all her clients. Meet Rachael and learn more about her services. Otherwise, we invite you to subscribe to our email for local events, photography tips, and encouragement.