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209 living

Don’t let the unusually comfortable temperatures fool you.

Winter is coming.

While there hasn’t been much fall weather to speak of save for a blustery storm that brought much needed snow to the higher elevations of the Sierra, the typically cold Central Valley winter is fast approaching and the time to get outside and enjoy what we have of a fall while it is still around.

So where do you go?

Some are big fans of driving through the higher elevations to see the changing color of the leaves, but there are quite a few places along the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers as well as the Delta to get a feel for the changing seasons.

Here are some places to check out:

*Caswell Memorial State Park – This isn’t technically part of the Delta for a few miles until it merges with the San Joaquin River and flows out to the confluence with the Sacramento River, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a must-see place while the seasons are changing.

One of the last thick old-growth oak groves left in the Northern San Joaquin Valley (Ripon has also preserved a section to the west of this), Caswell is ablaze with colors when the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves begin to fall.

And the best part is that it’s literally right in our backyard – a short drive out to Austin Road and towards the Stanislaus River. If the timing is right, you pull into the park and underneath a canopy of beautiful trees.

This is a must-see for those searching for beauty.

*Walnut Grove – If it’s a relaxing place that you’re looking for to enjoy the cool fall weather before it gets bitterly cold, you’re in luck in Walnut Grove. Situated along the banks of the Sacramento River, this water enclave has everything from boutique hotels to grand mansions that have hosted United States Presidents. And beyond that, it’s a quaint, friendly little community that offers a look back at what life was like in this area 100 years ago.

There are trees along the river that make for an amazing photo with the lighting and Mother Nature are both cooperative. And the best part? You can hit Locke – one of the first inland Chinese villages in California – on the same trip.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.