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.

hiking
1 month ago

Perfect for family. Easy, nice scenery.
Only negative would be the $10.00 fee to enter park.

We went out today on this. It is not marked well. Start from the parking lot that is the larger and follow the trail that is straight ahead . The park is on the left with the bathhorm and the trail is the small one to the right. It goes to the beach first. Follow this trail and stay to your left for the whole trip and you will loop around. Eventually you will come to some trail mark signs. This trail is very well kept and lightly traveled. Very safe and my and my girlfriend had a great time.

No bikes allowed! It's perfect for a quick bike burn. Let the mountain bikers in. This is why state parks are closing, exclude a popular family friendly activity and no one will show up to pay the day fee.

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
8 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