BigView -Go Outside

By Chris Murphy

Did you know we have so many public spaces waiting for you? One of the most important recommendations I can make is to turn off the TV, put down the game controller and get out and about and explore. Many of these things don’t cost anything and you can enjoy hanging out with your friends and family, make a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy some of the vistas. You can even just go up Del Puerto and park on an overlook, or check out LaGrange or even just take a quick break at one of our city parks. The more we use the parks and enjoy what they have to offer, the safer they get as we are all out there looking out for each other. Plus, you can be a lot more healthy as you run, walk or ride along our trails or even take your bike downtown for brunch. You feel like you earn that extra helping of hashbrowns or bacon. Modesto is only 10 miles across, so it is pretty easy to get where you want to go from anywhere, and best of all, it is flat. Check out some of these fun options and enjoy this transition from spring to summer.

Go Climb a Rock!
There are so many places to scramble and hike in our area. Who knows, the next Royal Robbins may be out there scrambling somewhere. There are a lot of fun places along the Stanislaus and Tuolumne River, but one of the most epic and most beautiful places in the WORLD to rock scramble and rock climb is Yosemite, located right up the hill via 120 and 132 (the John Muir Highway) Please note, that reservations are required. If you don’t do Yosemite, try Hetch Hetchy. You can book in advance and there are some day passes that go on sale each morning at 8 am PST. If you have a hotel, camping, back country or Half Dome pass, you do not need an additional reservation.

There has been a lot of activity making sure our area kids have some great places to play and more are in development now. The Parks and Neighborhood department has been working hard through the pandemic and there are new parks in East LaLoma Park with some great kids play areas. You can find new parks and family spaces in each of our Stanislaus county cities. Many of these parks have little climbing walls, cool bridges and a lot of spiral slides. I know my grandson is loving the slides. There is a new activity guide with cool things for kids to do that you can sign up for. The Splash Pads will be opening on May 27!

Ashley Weaver Says:
Our entire team in the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department is excited to jump into Summer. We have family friendly offerings planned throughout the summer including free movies in the park, aquatics, Jr. Giants baseball, CSI Camp, tennis, soccer, adult softball and much more. Recreational swim returns along with swim lessons for all ages. Splash Pads will be running May 27 through September 5 (Memorial Day – Labor Day), 11:00am – 7:00pm. We can’t wait to see you! Financial Assistance is available for kids, disabled adults and seniors for City of Modesto Recreation classes. For more information on any of the upcoming classes or events, please visit or contact us,<> or (209) 577-5344

Day trips mean more now than they did 2 years ago. The ability to get out with a small group of family and friends was a lifesaver during Covid. Hopefully during that time, you found some wonderful places to take your Pic-a-nic basket full up goodies and spread out the blanket for a fun and relaxing time. There are so many cool little spots around like the Native Garden Park in LaLoma, Roberts Ferry, Knights Ferry, Columbia, and many of our parks, where you can bring your own little happiness.

You hear the horror stories of trying to get a campsite in Yosemite, but did you realize there are some other great and fun places to camp with your family and friends? Caswell Park is right here near Modesto, Woodward is right outside of Oakdale and both feel like you are on a getaway. You can regularly check the Yosemite available as they do have many cancellations and some same day offerings.

County Parks
There are some places you can go to get some mountain biking, boating, hiking, windsurfing, picnicking, camping and so much more. There is so much variety with Woodward Reservoir, Laird Park, Frank Raines Park, LaGrange Park and Modesto Reservoir, all offering a very different experience. Woodward has been home to some amazing music festivals and Modesto Reservoir offers some great boating and recreation. Woodward even has a model airplane and go kart section. If you get a chance to get up in the west side foothills, Frank Rains offers amazing vistas and trails. Don’t forget, you can go to the Stanislaus County Library and check out a day pass.

Caswell State Park
There is a huge 250 acre state park that is within 30 minutes from our area located along the banks of the Stanislaus River that snakes through the park with many trails, featuring full service camping, water play areas, oak riparian woodland areas with many nature outlooks and wildlife observation area. There are ranger and campfire programs and swimming is permitted.

During April, Modesto’s Gateway Park hosted a high-profile mountain bike race. Over the last few years, the Dry Creek Trail Group and the Modesto Composite Mountain Bike club has developed a really cool network of trails that parallel the Tuolumne River at 9th Street. These are great places to check out for riders of any ability and you can get a rockin’ workout as you navigate the twists and turns and the up and down profiles. Consider this one of the best cardio events you can do and have a lot of fun at the same time. There are also some road racing / riding clubs where you can do non-competitive group evening and weekend rides. There is a regular Wednesday evening ride at Fun Sport Bikes at 6 pm and the Dry Creek Trail Riders host regular rides as well.

Check out the bike trails, and also take time and sign up to help keep this area clean and developed by joining up with the Operation 9 to 99 group and the Dry Creek Trail Coalition, lead by Chris Guptill and Darin Jesberg respectively. Fun and fulfilling.

Go. Have Fun. Explore!
The Modesto Outdoor Recreation Alliance is a Charted 501c3 non-profit organization, affiliated with Modesto Neighborhoods, Inc. Outdoor recreation programs and activities encourage and promote positive use of open spaces, trails, and waterways within the Modesto area. Below are projects and community programs that are affiliates and supported by the Modesto Outdoor Recreation Alliance.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.