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Hiking Grasslands State Parks

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Hiking the Grass Valley Grasslands State Park allows you to enjoy nature and agriculture. The area is even known nationally. The hiking trail is extremely undeveloped. The hiking trail is frequented by both deer and antelope. The hiking trail takes you through many grassland areas so you can unobstructed views of wildlife. The hiking trail also has some unique views of agriculture. Additionally the hiking trail gives you views of bunchgrass, vernal pools, and rivers. The hiking area is located in a park that is over 2,700 acres large. The hiking area is bordered by both state and federal protected nature lands. One of the great things about hiking at the Great Valley Grasslands State Park is that it is relatively remote. This means that it is relatively not too crowded so you can really enjoy nature. Another amazing thing about hiking this area is that there is often abundant catfish and bass which you can fish. It is not uncommon to see many people sitting on the banks and even on sand bars fishing. I found they are often quite friendly so that you can learn a bit about fishing from them. Another amazing thing about hiking this area is that you can extend you hiking experience by going on the levee roads. Many of the levee roads are closed to vehicles. The over 6 miles of levee roads take one through willow and cottonwood lined areas in addition to many sloughs and areas with oxbows.

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One can reach this area from Highway 99. You drive on Highway 99 until you reach Insterstate 5. You then continue on Interstate 5 north toward Santa Nella. You take the Highway 140 exit from Interstate 5. You continue on Highway 140 and drive about 19 miles eastward. You then take Highway 165 and continue about 1.2 miles south until you reach the entrance. Please be aware that since this is a state park there may be an entrance fee to enjoy the park.

The hiking trail is filled with options. You can start by walking out of the levee which overlooks the San Joaquin River. On the south side of the levee you can enjoy amazing grassland views. As you continue you pass some vernal pools at about the half mile point. The vernal pools are often home to migratory birds and ducks. In about another mile and a half you start hiking away from the levee road and see some amazing grasslands. In several areas you will be surrounded by grass that is taller than you are. After about four and a half miles you will come to an intersection. You go to the right and then circle back on the trailhead.

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