California’s Newest State Park, Dos Rios, Now Officially Open to the Public

First state park in 10 years is still in development; public input on future recreation activities to come

California State Parks and partners celebrate the official opening of Dos Rios on June 12, 2024.

California’s newest state park, Dos Rios, officially opened to the public today, June 12. With the handing off of a giant key from non-profits River Partners and Tuolumne River Trust to California State Parks, more than 200 people including state and local leaders, key partners, and nearby community members attended the opening celebration.

Located about 8 miles west of Modesto in the San Joaquin Valley, the approximately 1,600-acre Dos Rios property is the largest public-private floodplain restoration project in California to restore habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife at the Tuolumne and San Joaquin Rivers.

The opening coincided with the launch of the Third Annual California State Parks Week June 12-16. With this year’s theme “This is Where You Live,” the public can participate in more than 200 in-person and virtual programming celebrating the state’s parks and the people who visit and help protect them. A complete list of the week’s events and how to participate is available at CAStateParksWeek.org. In addition to the kickoff of California State Park Week, attendees toured the park and saw restoration efforts, participated in mural painting and bicycle riding, and learned how to contribute to the future of Dos Rios. Governor Newsom today issued a proclamation on the opening of Dos Rios and California State Park Week.

Here’s what the public can expect at Dos Rios:  

  • Hiking and picnicking: Visitors are now able to hike some areas of the property and enjoy newly built picnic tables and ramadas.
  • Bird watching: Dos Rios is the destination for birds of the Pacific Flyway and is home to some incredible bird species. Bring your binoculars and see how many species you can locate.
  • Engaging with an Interpreter: Would you like to learn more about the area and how the floodplain forest protects people and animals? Speak with a park interpreter to learn all there is to know about this special park.
  • Park hours: Dos Rios will be open on weekends, Friday to Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can check in at the kiosk upon entry. Special events, guided backcountry hikes and guided tours will be available on ReserveCalifornia.com and at parks.ca.gov/DosRios. Dos Rios is located at 3599 Shiloh Road, Modesto, CA 95358.
  • Pet-friendly? Dogs are welcome in the “basecamp” (day-use area). They must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet long. Please bring water for your dog.

Currently, camping is not available. Planning for greater river access for swimming, angling, boating, and other water sports, along with trails for bicycling and other outdoor recreation activities will involve a public engagement process that includes consultation with area Tribes. As part of the planning process, the official name and park classification of Dos Rios will soon be determined and approved by the California State Park and Recreation Commission.

In partnership with the nonprofit River Partners and Tuolumne River Trust, the restoration of Dos Rios was a 10-year, $40 million project from 11 different funding sources from the public and private sectors. This will be the first state park created since Eastern Kern County Onyx Ranch State Vehicular Recreation Area in November 2014.

What state/local leaders and partners are saying:

  • Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor of California: “Our state parks are a point of pride and inspiration for Californians and visitors from around the world. Today, we celebrate the opening of Dos Rios – our first new State Park in a decade – which creates new outdoor recreation opportunities for Central Valley communities, provides habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife, and advances the state’s innovative efforts to combat the climate crisis using nature-based solutions.”
  • Jennifer Siebel Newsom, First Partner of California: “The Central Valley –  the beating heart of our state’s agriculture sector – is now home to California’s first new State Park in nearly a decade. Dos Rios is an example of our work to heal our environment through land restoration and protection of the endangered species who call it home while bringing to the local community the undeniable benefits of time spent in nature.”
  • Armando QuinteroDirector of California State Parks: “State Parks is thrilled to open California’s newest park, Dos Rios is a place where the Tuolumne River meets the San Joaquin River. San Joaquin Valley residents will be able to get out and experience the world at home and enjoy the richness that makes the Central Valley one of the most fertile and incredible places in the world. All of us at California State parks look forward to planning the future of this park collaboratively with you, the public, stakeholders and tribal partners for generations of Californians going forward.”
  • Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency: “Opening Dos Rios is a game changer. It provides a beautiful riverfront destination for San Joaquin Valley residents to get outside and recreate, in a part of the state with few such places. It also provides a new model of a multi-benefit park that also reduces flood risk for local communities, provides a refuge for local residents during worsening heat waves, and restores the natural environment of the Central Valley to benefit local wildlife.”
  • Julie Rentner, President of River Partners: “Dos Rios is the gold standard for how California achieves its bold vision for a vibrant, resilient future. This ‘park of the future’ connects underserved communities that have limited outdoor-recreation options with scalable multi-benefit climate solutions, advancing a thriving future for the Central Valley in which reconnected and restored floodplains support water resilience for a hotter, drier future and flood safety for the nation’s most imperiled communities—all while bringing back wildlife from the brink of extinction. River Partners is honored to have partnered with so many to bring life back to 1,600 flood-prone acres along the San Joaquin and Tuolumne Rivers. We’re ecstatic to give the transformed property back to the Central Valley to enjoy for future generations. We’ve got a lot more work to do just like this and are proud of the model Dos Rios serves in guiding the rest of the state.”
  • Patrick Koepele, Executive Director, Tuolumne River Trust: “Seeing Dos Rios officially open after two decades of dedicated effort fills me with immense pride and gratitude. This park represents the culmination of countless hours of hard work, collaboration, and unwavering commitment to restoring a vital piece of California’s Central Valley floodplains. Every visit, every educational tour, and every bike ride through the park contributes to our ongoing efforts to protect these vital ecosystems for future generations. I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this incredible resource with our community.”
  • Sam Hodder, President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League: “California’s expansive and diverse park system is critical to the state’s resilience and quality of life. The protected redwood forests, rivers, beaches, desert ecosystems, and thousands of miles of trails, reflect an extraordinary step in protecting and restoring the critical natural and recreational resources that are essential to our future. We’re thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of Dos Rios, the newest state park, during California State Parks Week, as demonstration of a new era of investment in that future through California’s renewed leadership in the fight against climate change.”
  • Rachel Norton, Executive Director of California State Parks Foundation: “California State Parks Week is about making sure all Californians feel invited to their state parks to enjoy all they have to offer. I can’t think of a better week to open our newest state park, Dos Rios. Dos Rios’s location in the Central Valley is a part of the state that lacks enough places for Californians to relax, spend time with friends and family, and cool off in the hot summer months. I am so excited for everyone to see, experience, and enjoy this amazing place.”
  • Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President and CEO of Parks California: “Dos Rios is a testament to the power of partnership. It is a special place where everyone can feel welcome and connected to nature, and foster a deep sense of belonging. Celebrating the opening of Dos Rios on the first day of California State Parks Week alongside our partners was the perfect way to honor our shared values and collective commitment to thriving parks.”
  • Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR): “DWR is committed to supporting multiple-benefit projects with nature-based solutions like Dos Rios because they are key to protecting lives and property while expanding access to the outdoors. We are proud to provide funds that support the vital work other agencies and organizations are doing as well as advancing our own restoration projects at DWR.”
  • Julie Vance, Regional Manager, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Central Region: “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is excited that this important habitat at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers is now open to the public. The San Joaquin Valley has lost much of its important riparian and floodplain habitats as a result of significant man-made changes to its natural hydrology. However, the conservation and restoration of Dos Rios has allowed for conservation, restoration, and the return of natural floodplain processes to over 2,000 acres, which benefits salmon and a host of wildlife species, as well as helping to lower flood risk in the community. Dos Rios being a State Park allows the public to fully appreciate the natural wonders of Dos Rios, and is a culmination of many years of work by many agencies and partners.”
  • Jennifer Norris, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Board: “The opening of California’s newest state park is a great example of what we aim to do at the Wildlife Conservation Board, protecting habitat and creating wildlife-oriented recreation for the people of California. Dos Rios is the result of a decade of dedication and the power of partnership, which will provide a lifetime of conservation, recreation, and educational opportunities.”
  • JP Patton, Director of California Conservation Corps: “Working on the Dos Rios project resonates with the California Conservation Corps and our Corpsmembers because it furthers the Governor’s vision of access for all Californians to our outdoor spaces, and for many in the CCC, this park enhances the communities where they and their families have lived and worked for generations.”

 

Various photos from the grand opening at Dos Rios

Top: Group photo of the opening day attendees. Bottom left: Artists paint a Dos Rios mural. Bottom middle: State Park Interpreter Ali Manzo, Executive Director of California State Parks Foundation Rachel Norton, and State Parks Director Armando Quintero participate in California State Parks Week activities at Dos Rios. Today’s theme is “Explore New Experiences.” Bottom right: Director Quintero speaks at the opening ceremony. Photos from California State Parks. 

Map shoing entrance to Dos Rios State Park in California

Navigation may take drivers to an area around the corner. Look for a white fence and a black ranch gate.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS

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The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at parks.ca.gov.