By April 6, 2011 Read More →

Caswell Memorial State Park

Without Old Man Winter, spring, with her green light, would not seem as charming. So, in welcoming April and reconnecting with the outdoors, let’s not forget the frost of winter as we embrace spring, for the Old Man is bound to return. In the meantime, however, agreeing with the wise words of Robin Williams – “spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party’”- it’s time to celebrate. With high temperatures hovering near the low 70’s and low temperatures rarely dipping below 40, April is the perfect month for extended periods in the outdoors, for as John Muir mused, “going out, I found, was really going in.” Fortunate for you, loyal reader of ModestoView Magazine, we have found the ideal location, close to home, to lose yourself in the outdoors: Caswell Memorial State Park.

Fifteen miles from Modesto Junior College, situated near the town of Ripon, this wildlife refuge lies along the Stanislaus River and composed of 258 acres dedicated to the protection of a mature oak riparian forest. Riparian refers to living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse and Caswell’s beaches and swimming areas grant its visitors the opportunity to become riparian themselves. The Stanislaus River meanders along the park’s south side adjacent to the day-use and campground areas. With 65 campsites, each equipped with a picnic table, food locker, and camp stove (fire pit), scattered within a deeply wooded area, Caswell provides a tranquil refuge from the more crowded (“book-months-in-advance”) campsites east into the Sierra Nevadas or west along the coast. As a spring day concludes, one should smell of dirt. For those that disagree, showers are located throughout the park.

Although camping is the best way to enjoy all of Caswell’s offerings, activities such as picnicking, swimming, hiking, fishing, tubing, and bird watching may be experienced in your spare time. With Caswell’s seemingly endless nature trails, park visitors determine the distance, advancing through one of California’s best examples of a rare riparian woodland composed of dense willow groves, cottonwoods, majestic valley oaks, and Sycamores which home the threatened Swainson Hawk.  For those with rod and tackle, largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as bullhead, blue gill, and catfish thrive year round.  Tubing is another popular activity, providing a relaxing float from the camping area to the day use area and a flat, one mile hike back.  Whether looking to camp for the weekend with family and friends or just a solitary afternoon escape, Caswell offers the chance for both in an ideal location just outside of town.

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