Stockton Surprises

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Stockton Record travel columnist Tim Viall turned to for advice on the autumn show in his latest column, “Forget New England”. Now, we turn to Tim for advice on where to find fall color near Stockton.

His top five picks include:

  • CA-88 – Hope Valley (7,300′)
  • CA-108 – Dardanelle’s Resort (5,700′)
  • CA – 4 – Calaveras Big Trees State Park (4,800′)
  • CA – 4 – Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys (2,172′)
  • CA-99 – Cosumnes River Preserve (15′)

Bravo, Tim. All good choices. In checking our archives, each of them has been featured in previous years.

Tim adds urban forests in downtown Stockton, Lodi and Modesto of which we agree. California’s Central Valley cities were all planted with towering shade trees (London Plane Trees) as refuge from hot summer temperatures. Those trees create beautiful falls of leaves in autumn. Many exotics have been planted for seasonal color and fill the cities with crimson, hot pink, electric yellow, orange and lime, as well.

When deciding when to go, use the same approach used throughout California. Measure peak according to how it is descending in the Sierra.

The Hope Valley will be the first to peak in a week to a week and a half, then the Dardanelle’s Resort and Calaveras Big Trees, down to Murphys and the Gold Country before reaching the valley’s river preserves and wildlife refuges.

As for wildlife refuges, we would add the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve near Lodi for its exceptional show of Sandhill Cranes (now there).