Walk the Trail
Oakhurst River Parkway was built for you to use. The people of the mountain town of Oakhurst and several state and federation organizations put plans into action in 1992 to establish this set of trails running alongide the Fresno River and its tributaries which pass through the town.
It is an ecological paradise in the midst of one of the Sierra Nevada's most active tourism and residence areas close to Yosemite National Park, Bass Lake and other recreational opportunities.
To make your walk more fun, we've provided a handy ECO-WALK checklist. Study it in advance of your visit to Oakhurst, or print it and bring it with you. We think you'll be surprised at how many of our valued creatures you already know about!
Oakhurst River Parkway Clean-up Day
September 17, 2011
National Sierra Rivers Clean-up Day
For both of the above, meet Oakhurst Library 9:00 a.m.
Oakhurst River Parkway Cleanup Day. Volunteers who would like to help, please meet in the Oakhurst Library Parking Lot at 8:45.
KEEP OAKHURST BEAUTIFUL
These Trash and Bench sets are available through the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce! For a $2,000 suggested donation you and your business or organization can help keep our town clean.
learn more at Geocaching.com
Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache somewhere on earth, pinpoint its location using GPS technology, and then share the geocache's existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache, and if they do, inside is a log of finders' names who have also found it. Once logged, the cache is put it back in place to await the next finder.
There are several variations in use today, much of the concept is based on a game called letterboxing which started in the late 1800's. Some caches are virtual where you visit a scenic or historical place, learn about it and log that you have been there. In a "hi-tech treasure hunt," one person hides "treasure" (the cache) and another person tries to find it using a GPS receiver similar to the road map GPS receiver you might have in your car. The "hi-tech" aspect was born in 2000 when President Clinton allowed the Geo Positioning Satellites to be used more widely with a greater degree of accuracy. The first geocache was hidden, and was found just hours later.
Geocaching uses latitude and longitude data along with other clues and hints, sometimes intentionally a little vague, as you'll find us when we say, "there may be caches along the Oakhurst River Parkway.
Thousands enjoy this world wide game including individuals, groups and families. Hundreds of thousands of caches are hidden around the world. One might be right under your nose as you stand on a street, sidewalk, trail, or while waiting for an elevator. You just never know what clever individual has hidden a cache in the guise of something else.
Each person finding a cache logs their nickname at the cache (as proof that they have actually found it), and then on the internet, which tells others including the cache hider that they have found the cache. These vary in size from very small - a little bigger than a pencil eraser, to the size of a 5 gallon bucket. Some caches contain only a log, others contain toys and trinkets to trade. Some are very carefully hidden where the finder must be somewhat experienced or intuitive to find it. Others are just hidden well enough to keep them from the unaware casual observer.
We agree that Geocaching can be a tremendous waste of time, gas and money, but the most fun you can have with $12 billion worth of Global Positioning Satellites. To some, it's better than attending the Superbowl!
Raccoons - Fun Fact
"A raccoon's hands are so nimble that they can remove a coin as thin as a dime out of a shirt pocket, without even bending its fingers. Not only that, they are capable of removing several dimes at a time and hold them individually between its fingers. How's that for dexterity?" Thanks to: Fun Nature Facts
Where to Start Your Walk
The longest walks start at the entry points at Civic Circle Drive, location of the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce. Behind the Oakhurst Library and located across a short footbridge is Oakhurst Community Park. The park is circled by the Parkway trail and three options to explore further.
to the west, and the short walk through the Royal Oaks residential area,
or you can take the China Creek trail due east, which is our "medium" length walk.
Our longest walk winds ultimately to Yosemite High School on the northeast trail.
China Creek Walk
There is a wonderful resting spot at the "Teddy Bear Garden between the lumber company and a brown building housing businesses. Take a rest. Enjoy this little scenic park.
As you approach the bridge, on the China Creek portion of the trail, you'll be in a perfect position to view the mountain bluebird. This relative rarity in the area moves quickly, flitting tree to tree. Also, in the Fall, the Great Northern Flickers descend on that area of the creek to eat berries (pic at right). Watching them fly is fascinating as they have a beautiful orange on the underside of the tail that catches the sun.
Also on the China Creek trail, in the Summer, you may encounter youngsters in the swimming hole beneath the Stagecoach Road bridge!
Fresno River to Oak Creek and beyond
If you don't choose to take the China Creek side trip, just stay on the trail which will take you along the Fresno River passing between the Oakhurst Campus of State Center Community College on the north side, and Sierra Telephone on the right. Here you will encounter the first of only two street-crossings of the Parkway trail, traversing Road 426, sometimes called Crane Valley Road.
The section from the Sierra Star building to the junction with Oak Creek is a relatively straight section of the river and a wider viewing area. It is here that you'll often find turtles sunning on the rocks or logs, a blue heron or two, or many interesting bird species from goldfinches bright red-hatted Cassins finches, a few house, gold and purple finches make this part of their territory as well.
This section of the trail is a good place to take a short breather. Because of the number of bird species, this section of the Fresno River is artificially filled with water from Lewis Creek, higher up in the Sierra during the hot summer months. It rarely goes completely dry.
The large metal building you'll see on your right Sierra Telephone Company's engineering building. Look to the other side of Oak Creek and you'll see Oakhurst Petanque Club and the Harry H. Baker Boys and Girls Club.
Just a bit further, the trail takes you past Oakhurst Elementary School on the right. Here, you'll cross a foot bridge. Stay to the right and the trail will pass through the extensive grounds of the Oakhurst Intermediate School campus, and take another right turn along Indian Springs Road and the Fresno Flats Historic Park. The Park provides a perfect resting spot as it is a historic museum with restrooms and picnic tables.
At the corner of Indian Springs Road and Road 427 (School Road) you'll cross Road 427 and enter the most forested portion of our trail.
The Canopied Forest
Crossing School Road puts you on the most forested riparian portion of the Oakhurst River Parkway. A delightful stroll will net you some of the loveliest treats on the trail. This is a favorite roosting place for owls, scrub and Steller's jays, crows, and the millions of songbirds - goldfinches, house finches, white crowned sparrows, robins, mourning doves and so many more which inhabit our area. You may also see a few deer.
Even in the hottest summer, this portion of the trail is cool, quiet, and restful. On sunny days, in the hours just before noon, and again after 5:00 p.m. [Pacific Daylight Time] bird conventions begin. Birds love to take time to get together and chat. It is an amazing thing to find a seat and just listen and look.
A pair of binoculars will net you some beautiful sights. The birds evidently have a lot to chat and sing about and it is fun to try picking out which conversation your favorite bird is involved in. Sometimes you'll hear (and see) the nuthatches and scrub jays making their little "burping" sounds.
Continuing on, you'll happen upon Yosemite High School, a large campus including the Harry H. Baker Swimming facility on the right, and some of the newer buildings on campus which include the theatre and sports complex, classrooms and dining facilities.
Staying on the trail you will pass through the athletic fields - soccer, baseball, tennis, and the football stadium - toward the end of the trail on the "other side" of Yosemite High School. Total length of the Oakhurst River Parkway trail: 3½ miles!