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Hiking South Nature Trail

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A short drive from Fresno is the South Nature Hiking Trail in the Indian Grinding Rock State Historical Park. This hiking trail is unique. As you are hiking you will see a 173 foot bedrock with over a thousand mortar cups. As you are hiking you can let your imagination go wild as you imagine a group of people grinding acorns and more in these rocks forming the mortar cups. Many believe that Miwok tribe members gathered acorns in this area and stored them in large granaries. The acorns were shelled and ground into flour and then cooked on hot rocks.

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As you are hiking you can visit the museum. Here you can see many examples of Miwok crafts and also replicas of Miwok work. One such replica is the replica of a Miwok round house that was a traditional location for ceremonial gatherings.

You can reach the area by heading north from Fresno. Continue toward Jackson. Once you reach Jackson head east from Highway 49 to the Pine Grove and then continue to the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. There may be a fee to enter since this is a state park. There is typically a multitude of parking near the museum and trailhead. You can catch the trailheads behind the museum. The North Trail is a one mile loop trail. It starts near the museaum. It then follows along a low ridge and loops around to the Miwok village. Once you reach the Miwok village you can continue on the South Nature Trail for another half mile. Alternatively you can take the fork and return to the museum via a direct path by the ceremonial roundhouse. On either trail you can enjoy views of meadows, oak forests, sugar pine stands, ponderosa pine stands, and much more. There are pamphlets at the visitor center to guide you through the sights along the trail.

You can go online to the park website and download the South Nature Trail Map for free and print it out. Along the self guided hiking trail you can learn about how the Miwok lived in the area long ago.