Staten Island Road

Staten Island Road is in the town of Thornton in San Joaquin County and is a great place to view Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans and other waterfowl in the winter months during the migration period. This is a drive-in and drive back, long, mostly paved road nestled between large agricultural properties near the Mokelumne River. The properties are all privately owned, so remain in your vehicle, or only walk along the road itself. Do not trespass.

Easy to Locate? Yes
Pet Friendly? No. You can bring your pets along with you, but they must remain inside your vehicle. The road is lined by private farms and ranches. Do not trespass.
Easy to Walk? This is a driving tour. If you get out of your vehicle at any time be sure you’re not trespassing.
Is there a Fee? No.
Are there Restrooms? No.
Is there Accessible Parking? No
Other Notes: Staten Island Road is a county maintained road (for the most part) with private ranches and farms on either side of it. The agricultural properties are working ranches and farms. Avoid the area whenever planting and/or harvesting is taking place.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location throughout the last several years.

Waterfowl and other species of birds can usually be found in the agricultural fields here.

There is a shoulder on the right side of the road you can pull over and stop on, but keep in mind that the other roads, levies and driveways are all PRIVATE PROPERTY. Do not trespass.

How to Get There

  • From Sacramento, take I-5 South to the Thonrton Road Exit, Exit 493
  • Once you’re off the freeway TURN RIGHT onto Thornton/Walnut Grove Road
    • Stay on Walnut Grove Road past Blossom, Vail and Lamb Roads
    • You’ll cross the Mokelumne River
    • Staten Island Road will come up after that
  • Turn LEFT onto Staten Island Road  (There’s a large light-colored barn structure with big silos across one side of it on the right side of the road.  It’s very visible from Walnut Grove Road, so you’ll known when you’re turning correctly onto Staten Island Road.)
    • Most of the road is paved, but after a while it gives way to a wide dirt road.
    • You can drive down to the end of the road, turn around, and come back.
Large building on Staten Island Road.
I-5 to Exit 493, turn RIGHT onto Walnut Grove Road and take it to Staten Island Road.

If you see a banded bird, take photos of it and report your findings to the proper foundation(s). (Do a simple Google search to find out where the best place is to make your report. For banded Sandhill Cranes, for example, report HERE.)

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist