What’s the attraction: Caswell Memorial State Park near Ripon offers long, rambling and mostly level nature trails that skirt the Stanislaus River and neighboring vineyards, winding through acres of riparian forest. Fishing, camping and picnic areas are also available.
Oak Forest Nature Trail: While the trails in the park are relatively flat ones that will be a breeze for the experienced hiker, they still offer a scenic walk through forest land. The Oak Forest Nature Trail is a mile-long loop through wild grapes, blackberries and tall oaks — some stretching 60 feet toward the sky. Signs along the path give information about the riparian habitat and the Stanislaus River, and there are connections to several other, wilder trails, including one that offers peeks of the river and wanders along a vineyard fenceline. Wildlife populates the trails, including the endangered Swainson's hawk, red-tailed hawks, woodpeckers and the riparian brush rabbit, which can only be found at Caswell. In the summer, rangers offer guided tours on some Saturdays.
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