If you want some fun out of town hiking with minimal driving consider hiking in the Millerton Lake State Recreational Area. The Millerton Lake Recreational Area is located just off of Highway 41 only about 20 miles away from the edge of Fresno. You can reach the hiking area by driving down Highway 41 north until you reach Highway 145. You can then take that exit and follow the signs to the Millerton Lake State Recreational Area. Depending on if you park inside the recreational area or find street parking outside the area you may be able to avoid parking fees. The hiking are has over 40 miles of shoreline for you to go hiking through. The hiking and recreational area has options for hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, and much much more. The hiking trails are relatively flat so you can even go jogging as you are on the hiking trail.
As you are hiking you can often see a multitude of wildlife. The hiking trail is frequented by squirrels, cottontail deer, mule deer, badgers, bald eagles, and golden eagles. If you go hiking in the winter you can often see more bald eagles than if you go hiking during other seasons.
The hiking trail takes you around Millerton Lake. Millerton Lake was constructed when the Friant Dam was built around 1944. As you are hiking around the lake keep your eyes open to remnants of the old Millerton County Courthouse. The Courthouse was build in 1867. The weather in this area can change rapidly through the day so you may want to ensure that you wear layers. Additionally sunscrean is recommended because the majority of the area is not shaded so you will be subject to sun and risks of sunburns. One of the more popular hiking trails in this area is the South Shore Trail. This hiking trail is flat and goes around the river. The area does typically have a parking fee, however if you are willing to do a long walk you can often find parking outside to avoid the fee. The park in general does not allow campers longer than 36 feet in length. Additionally the area generally does not allow for trailers longer than 36 feet in length. If you have either you may want to go very early to ensure parking outside of the park.