The Kaweah Oaks Preserve is a private wildlife sanctuary located near Highway 198 in California. Besides protecting wildlife the preserve also protects valley oak trees that were once everywhere in the San Joaquin Valley. Farming practices in the late 1800’s, as allowed by law, change the landscape to what we know today. Visiting this preserve gives us a glimpse back in time prior to those practices. There is no fee for entering the preserve, but they ask a donation of $3 a person if you want to help the place out. Information packets are available just prior to entering the preserve too.
The Day Trip
My mom had mentioned a possible new walking area to visit over the weekend. Apparently someone she knew had taken their young children there a weekend or so ago and really enjoyed the place. We decided to head out Saturday morning before the weather really warmed up. I checked the website out for the location and read up a bit about the area. They are right about visiting between March to May and September to November. I would recommend the spring season just because of the smells, green forage, and the oaks are leafed out. Plus the temperatures are typically perfect for shorts or pants.
Diana and I awoke Saturday morning to get things ready for the trip. We needed to get Jaden ready to go too, so with some unforeseen delays we were on the road at 1030 AM. We arrived at the preserve before lunch and the temperature was already in the 80’s. There is a nice gravel parking area and it wasn’t too crowded. I think most people had left by this time since the wildlife was bedding down for the afternoon heat. Anyway we put Jaden in the stroller, loaded up the backpack, and headed out down a dirt road towards some trails.
After going through a second gate the road dead ends at a water control point in the river. It is like a dam to regulate and detour water. This is where we came to the conclusion that the stroller was too big for the foot trails. Diana and mom went back to get the Baby Bjorn while the rest of us did some exploration of the trails. We wanted to make sure they were still visible so we decided to take the Grapevine Trail for a few hundred feet.
After walking a part of the Grapevine Trail we recognized steel posts with numbers on them. We didn’t grab a pamphlet, but wish we had at this point to understand their significance. We waited under a big valley oak tree about 30 yards down the Wild Rose Trail. We figured it was a perfect spot to wait for the ladies to catch back up.
Once the ladies arrived Dad became the “tour guide” for the trails. Mom had found a pamphlet describing each of those numbered steel posts. Christina and Shariann stayed under the tree while the rest of us went on our way down the Wild Rose Trail. Dad had fun being the tour guide as he did some short commercials advertising his Nutrilite products. We all had a good laugh and it add some comedy along the trail. We learned about the wildlife in the area, insects, and how the Native Americans known as the Yokuts.
One we met back up with Christina and Shariann we made our way back to the fork in the trail. We all did the Grapevine Trail together, which does provide a lot more shade then the previous trail. My dad continued to be the tour guide as we made our way down the trial. Just like the Wild Rose Trail, the Grapevine Trail is a big loop through the oaks. A lot of the signs we stopped at ended up being the same as the other trail. We still enjoyed the walk though. The trail is rightfully named too. Grapevines would extend to the upper canopy of the trees, wild blackberries where everywhere. You could smell the willow trees blooming too! In fact it almost seemed like it was “snowing” due to so much pollen from the willow trees coming down.
Well it was getting late into the lunch hour, so we made our way back to the vehicles. On the way we decided to try out the picnic area for a quick bite to eat. Christina went back to the truck to grab some snacks while we rested under the tree. We made Jaden his lunch and my mom wanted to feed him. Shariann found a water fountain and soaked her hair to cool down. It was a great spot for a lunch for sure. We even saw people getting wedding or engagement photos done.
That concluded our trip the preserve. The only trail we didn’t visit was the swamp trail and that was probably a good thing. The humidity was rising with the temperatures. The lush green vegetation was undergoing evapotranspiration. You may have noticed that in the photos, especially with Jaden. We kept him cool though and he never complained. He absolutely loved being outside. A great family outing at the Kaweah Oak Preserve!