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San Joaquin River
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San Joaquin River

The San Joaquin River is one of the largest rivers in the state of California. It originates high on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, in the Ansel Adams Wilderness near Mammoth Mountain. The San Joaquin river drains most of the area from the southern border of Yosemite, south to Kings Canyon National Park, making it the second largest river drainage in the state. It emerges from the foothills at what was once the town of Milerton, now the location of Friant Dam and Reservoir.

The river flows west to the trough of the Central Valley, where it is joined by the Sierra's other great rivers and then flows north to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and then San Francisco Bay. A ship channel makes the river navigable for ocean freighters as far inland as Stockton.

The river once supported a large run of Chinook salmon -- up to 300,000 adults would return annually -- as well as steelhead trout and white sturgeon.

See also