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.

shady trails. beautiful walk!

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The trail was probably really nice, however I had to rush through it because the moment I stepped on the trail, I was swarmed by a bunch of mosquitoes! They were buzzing and biting me the entire trail, I even had to start running down the trail to get away at one point, it was so bad. Definitely bring bug spray if you want to be able to enjoy this trail. The mosquitoes even followed me inside my car, I had to kill several as I was driving away!

Kids and I had a lot of fun but make sure you bring bug spray tons of mosquitoes

This is a nice little trail that also connects with the other, longer trails in the park. I was the only one in the park during my visit. It was a nice hike.

I hiked this trail on 5/17/17. Parts are inaccessible due to flooding and the trail markers are...inconsistent. In other words some parts are very well marked, yet other parts are not marked at all. Still, it was a pleasant hike. I arrived there about 9am, no one was at the gate. I self registered and paid and found once I got to the parking lot that I was the only one there. I had the trail, and pretty much the whole park to my self for the hour and a half that I was there. That was pretty amazing. It was a nice hike and I will definitely return and hike the parts that I couldn't get to at another time.

arrived and then left.... costs to park. no thsnks

hiking
7 months 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.

walking
10 months ago

The Mosquitoes ruined it! Like they were hunting in packs

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

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
Sunday, July 24, 2016

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.)