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Winter Hikes

Winter Hikes in California State Parks

Winter is a great time to take a hike in a California State Park. The air is brisk and clear, making it ideal to discover the variety of landscapes state parks have to offer.  It's important to wear proper shoes fit for hiking, wear a hat for sun protection, and bring water. And always check the weather forecast before your hike.  Here are some ideas for great winter hikes:

Southern California

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.

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LEO CARRILLO STATE PARK (LOS ANGELES/VENTURA COUNTIES), 28
miles northwest of Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast Highway, is a great place
for a hike. Visitors should park in the parking lot and walk under the highway, and
on to the sand. Continuing up the hill, visitors can stroll along the bluffs for a view
of the kelp forest below, then on to the second staircase for a stroll through the
sea tunnel, if the tide allows. A picnic in the cove can be a special treat. For more
information, call the park at (818) 880-0350.

Central California

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.

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CASWELL MEMORIAL STATE PARK (SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY) 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 Yokut people, and welcomed the first European
explorers with a familiar sight, so like the mighty white oaks of their homelands.
Take the Austin Road exit west from Highway 99 at Manteca and continue seven
miles until the road ends at the park entrance. Call (209) 599-3810 for more
information.

Northern California

Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point SP our California State Park Interpreter will be leading Snowshoe through History hikes along Lake Tahoe’s magical west shore at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park throughout the winter months. These easy and fun tours explore the lakefront and the Hellman-Ehrman  Estate. Learn about the natural environment that attracted Tahoe’s earliest settlers and explore the fascinating history of a Tahoe landmark. 

The Snowshoe through History hikes start at 11am on January 28, February 18, March 17 of 2012.  They begin near the restrooms in the Day Use side of the park (lake side entrance off Highway 89).  The programs last approximately 1½ hours. There is a parking fee of $8 per vehicle, and no charge for the program. Wear warm clothing and waterproof winter shoes, bring water and snowshoes. Snowshoes can be rented at a local sporting goods shop such as West Shore Sports in Homewood. Weather conditions may cancel.

For information call: 530-525-9528 OR 530-525-7232

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.

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