Often the best day trips are the ones in your own neighborhood. The walking and biking trails within the cities of Fresno and Clovis, California are without a doubt some of the best day trips in the Fresno region. The cost is free and the travel may be just around the corner. While most people simply walk or bike the trails for exercise, a little extra time will reveal much more to the observant explorer.
Along the Dry Creek trail in Clovis you will find, of course, Dry Creek. The small creek has water in it more often than its name implies. You will find a variety of plants and flowers, groves of large shady trees, and depending on the season, you may see as many as twenty species of birds at Cottonwood Park pond. These include Great Blue Herons, Egrets, a variety of ducks and even the American White Pelican, one of the largest birds in North America. A nice observation platform with spotting telescopes and description placard make bird watching easy.
Across the street at Dry Creek Park, you will find the Clovis Botanical Garden, dedicated to highlighting water-wise gardening. It is free to enter and explore the plants and landscaping best suited for the hot California Central Valley.
Many of the trails are rich in local history. Their routes follow those originally established by the railroads and the covered rest stops mimic the architecture of the long-lost rail depots. Lampposts that line some of the trails show their 19th century design roots.
The Clovis Old Town trail takes you into the heart of Old Town Clovis with its small town atmosphere and turn-of-the-last century architecture. Here you will find restaurants, antique stores, gift shops and boutiques. Many weekends are bustling with festivities such as farmers market, wine walks and antique fairs. Big Hat Days, which kicks off rodeo month, regularly draws over 100,000 people to Old Town.
You can add to your trail journey by taking a walking tour of Old Town. The tour will point out historical highlights and buildings of the area. Cap it off with a visit to Big Dry Creek Museum to complete your adventure.
Facilities are available along many miles of the trails. These include restrooms, drinking fountains, play and exercise equipment, covered rest stops and even free "mutt mitts" to clean up after your pets. Be sure and take advantage of the information placards and mile markers along many parts of the trails. You can find more information about the trails at visitclovis.com and fresno.gov.