A small, wild refuge in the midst of California’s Great Central Valley, Caswell Memorial State Park is situated on the Stanislaus River near the town of Ripon. This special river park’s 258 acres protect what is considered one of California’s finest examples of a mature oak riparian forest. While once they were a prominent feature in the landscape of the Central Valley, today these riparian forests are extremely rare. The Stanislaus River winds along the south side of the campground and day-use areas. The park offers activities such as camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, tubing from the campground to the day-use area, bird watching, and hiking. Fishing is popular, and fishing spots are plentiful along the sandy main channel of the Stanislaus River or the extremely slow moving oxbows. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, bullhead, blue gill and other sunfish, crappie, and pike minnow thrive here year-round, and striped bass and Chinook salmon migrate through the area. The Native Americans who lived along this river and collected acorns among these ancient groves were Yokuts. In the early 1800s, Spanish explorers traversed this area, and fur trappers found the river bountiful. Thomas Caswell, landowner, enjoyed this wonderful forest and felt it should be preserved. In 1950 the children and grand children donated 134 acres to the people of California. Additional donations and state purchases brought Caswell to its current size of 258 acres. Caswell Memorial State Park was open to the public in 1958. Park open 8am-sunset year round. Average winter temperatures are 45-50 degrees. Summer is typically 85-100 degrees, although it is not unusual to go several consecutive days with 100+ temperatures. Mosquitoes are among the resident wildlife so come prepared to live with them. One of the most magnificent aspects the park has to offer is its seemingly endless nature trails. The trails allow a glimpse of what the riparian ecosystem of the valley would have looked like in pristine times. A majestic Oak Forest is surrounded by many other lush plant species, some of which are rarely found anywhere else in the area. The park offers a rich variety of wildlife viewing. While many of the wildlife species here are nocturnal and rarely seen, bird watching is a favorite among nature lovers. Red shouldered and red tailed hawks are often seen, along with dozens of other winged artists. Dogs are not allowed on trails or beaches.

The Mosquitoes ruined it! Like they were hunting in packs

Nice shaded trail. Easy walk. The cost to get in now is $12.00.

$10 parking and no dogs allowed on the trail?!?! That's upsetting, but driving in it looks gorgeous, that's all I can say.

walking
4 months ago

Thanks to the drought anywhere you go around here is dry and less beautiful than It's full potential right now. But if you're anything like me, sometimes it's less about the hike, or the view at the end. Sometimes you just need to get out, away from people, and the hustle and bustle of life. This park is only 15 minutes from my house, and is perfect for those days that I just need a break. I don't know that there is such a thing as a "beautiful view" in ripon, so for what is it, I like it! Very easy! (Both of the trails at that park get the same review, because to me, they are the Same.)

Thanks to the drought anywhere you go around here is dry and less beautiful than It's full potential right now. But if you're anything like me, sometimes it's less about the hike, or the view at the end. Sometimes you just need to get out, away from people, and the hustle and bustle of life. This park is only 15 minutes from my house, and is perfect for those days that I just need a break. I don't know that there is such a thing as a "beautiful view" in ripon, so for what is it, I like it! Very easy!

Was just there today and it was beautiful. The trails were well marked also. Might not be as enjoyable in the summer when it's not so green.

Thought it was beautiful

We were a family with 5 kids with us, they all really liked it and it was a great easy trail. When we were there the road was closed going to the trail head so it took us a while to find the trail. We also didn't make the whole loop as a tree had fallen and blocked the path, easy enough to climb over it but I had a baby in a carrier. Beautiful scenery, very quiet, it was just what we needed. Area wasn't super well maintained, I'm assuming because it was the winter.

For a nice quick local place to walk/hike this worked well. You can finish the whole park within 2 hours. I enjoyed the scenery and the trails. It does cost $10 since it's a state park, but I was ok with it. I would Definately recommend if looking for something quick and local.

I got hit in the head with an acorn here and literally saw stars lol. We also saw a fox, which was the highlight of the day. The trails were kinda hard to find and over grown. There's not much to see here, but a nice sandy shore. Wouldn't pay $10 though...

Pretty boring trail. Everything is overgrown to accommodate rabbits indigenous to the area so the scenery isn't very good and the river is barely visible from the trail

Easy park to find and lots of trails to explore, very easy hiking. Wear bug spray, the water is stagnant and there are mosquitoes. Parking is too expensive...$12.00!

I went with my family including my 3 children. It was our first time there. We found the river with no problem. It was very beautiful there. There was sand all through out the river. The water was shallow and we were able to walk across the river. We spent most of the day there. Our kids loved it there. The scenery is so beautiful. It's like a painted picture. Some of the trails are overgrown. We did not attempt to walk through those trails because of the mosquitoes, ticks, and what ever else lurked in there. If you are going to Caswell, I would mainly go to spend time at the river. There is a picnic area and from the picnic area, we did find a nice trail that led us to the river. During mosquito season, I would recommend wearing some kind of bug repellent.

Easy, short walking trail. Not very exciting...

walking
2 years ago

My boyfriend and I were searching for somewhere to hike around Tracy that wasn't too difficult and we stumbled upon Caswell Memorial State Park. I had high hopes, yet they weren't met. It all started with the entry of the park. It costs $10 to enter the park. There is not even a ranger in the deserted station. You are supposed to leave the cash in an envelope. By the way, there were no instructions on how to pay for a day pass or where to leave it. It took us a bit of searching around to find it. We didn't want to risk getting a ticket for not paying. Once in the park we headed towards the trailhead. I noticed a no dogs sign just as I noticed someone walking with two dogs :(. We chose the trail to the left. It was very well maintained an don't had a lot of wildlife. Not too many bugs, just a lot of ants on the trail. The trail was quite short so once we looped back around we took the fence line trail. It started out somewhat groomed and then grew quite wild with brush overgrown and tons of gnats. We followed the Riverbend trail once it hit a Y. We never found the river :(. Eventually it looped back to the fence line trail. Once we got home I also noticed a tick on me. It must have come from all the overgrown brush on the trail. I will not be coming back here, especially for the price.

Pretty area - mostly wild but right next to an almond orchard. Didn't see a lot of birds, probably due to the time of day, but we did get a glimpse of a Swainson's Hawk and a couple of turkey vultures. Lots of bugs around, though; mostly harmless ones like beetles and gnats, but there were wasps around the entry gate and the dumpster in the parking lot.

For a last minute hiking this is a good place to see lots of birds. You can finish this park in less then 2 hours.

Not a great trail at all and full of ticks.

Beautiful trail. I do not suggest taking any dogs (went during June). Unless you want to be picking ticks off you and the dog all night and day.

I have to agree with the other reviews. This shouldn't be listed as a hike, nor a bike trail. It's too small, and no markings at all. Only good thing is we had our little dog who doesn't walk too much, she gets too tired, so we called it quits after 30 minutes of trying to find the trail head. Save your time and go somewhere else. This is not a hike.