California State Parks: Favorite Hikes, Winter 2013
Cold winter mornings have you lingering in bed? Never fear! Once you finally crawl out from under the covers, we’ve got some suggestions for hikes that will keep you raring to go all winter long!
Malibu Creek State Park (four miles south of Highway 101 on Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road) offers a getaway from the city for people to explore rugged terrain, spectacular gorges, and serene rolling hills of oak woodlands. Visitors can enjoy a short and easy loop trail at the Ann Skagar All-Access Trail, or take a stroll down the Back Country Trails on the High Road to the visitor center (one mile round trip) open most weekends. For a longer hike, continue past Century Lake and see where the popular TV series M*A*S*H was filmed (1.3 miles from the Visitor Center.) Over 30 miles of trails allow a glimpse into the park’s history. Malibu Creek State Park once housed Crag’s Country Club in the 1920’s and later served as a backdrop for many films including How Green Was My Valley and Planet of the Apes. For more information, call the park (818) 880-0367.
Caswell Memorial State Park (six miles west of Ripon on Austin Road) offers visitors a leisurely ramble along the Stanislaus River. Various trail loops allow walks from .5 to 2.5 miles over relatively level terrain. The stately Valley Oaks that tower over the trails once sheltered the native Yokut people, and welcomed the first European explorers with a familiar sight similar to the mighty white oaks of their homelands. A vehicle entrance fee is required. Call (209) 599-3810 for more information.
Links to other Central California Hikes
Tomales Bay State Park (Marin County) has a splendid trail from
Heart’s Desire Beach to Indian Beach that can be done in a one mile loop. For
more information, call the park at (415) 669-1140.