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California > California Regions > Central Valley Region
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Central Valley Region

McConnell State Recreation Area McConnell State Recreation Area Fort Tejon State Historic Park Fort Tejon State Historic Park Los Padres National Forest Sequoia National Forest Sierra National Forest Mendocino National Forest ImageMap - turn on images!!!

Bakersfield BLM Field Office
Black Butte Lake
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Central Valley State Parks and Recreation Areas
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
Delevan National Wildlife Refuge
Eastman Lake
El Mirage State Vehicular Recreation Area
Englebright Lake
Folsom BLM Field Office
Hensley Lake
Kern National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Kaweah
Mendocino National Forest
Merced National Wildlife Refuge
New Hogan Lake
Pine Flat Lake
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
Stanislaus River Parks
Success Lake
Sutter National Wildlife Refuge
Ukiah BLM Field Office

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General Information

A lone tree in Turlock Lake SRA
Copyright: - California State Parks
A lone tree in Turlock Lake SRA
Description - California's breadbasket, the great Central Valley, stretches for 450 miles down the center of the state, from Willows to Bakersfield. This region includes a wealth of culturally diverse communities, historic sites, exceptional outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife and the California Delta - a unique 1,000 mile waterway fed by five major rivers.

Acres and acres of grapes, from some of the largest wineries in the state, give way to fields of tomatoes, squash, corn, peppers, and just about every other crop imaginable, all made possible by a series of rivers-the San Joaquin, Merced, Kings, and Kern-as well as the great California Aqueduct. Take time to stop along the way to taste almonds in Modesto, raisins in Kingsburg, or prunes in Yuba City. Better yet, snack your way across the farm trails around Visalia, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

Attractions - The waters of the Central Valley provide more than just irrigation to crops, however. There's leisurely houseboating and fishing along the California Delta, where deep dredging allows container ships to travel inland from the Bay Area to Sacramento, and adrenaline-producing whitewater rafting, particularly in spring and early summer, down any number of Sierra-fed streams. In fact, despite their emphasis on farming, towns like Merced, Visalia, and Fresno are just as well known as gateways to three national parks: Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. Bakersfield, in the southern end of the valley, is the perfect base for exploring not only the Mojave Desert, but also Tule Elk State Reserve, home to a rare herd of the smallest elk in the world.

Wildlife is abundant throughout the valley. Sandhill cranes perform their amusing mating dance at Cosumnes River Preserve, near Lodi, while Canada geese, pintail ducks, and millions of other wildfowl make the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, south of Willows, a stop along the Pacific Flyway between August and February. And while the great outdoors certainly holds sway here in the Central Valley, you'll find a range of fascinating cultural landmarks as well, from the Kern County Museum's Pioneer Village, with its more than 50 buildings restored as an early 20th-century town, to Locke, once the home of thousands of Chinese immigrants brought in to build the state's Delta levees and railroads, and now a living reminder of those times.

The Central Valley Region features portions of the Mendocino National Forest in the north, two state parks, eight state recreation areas, four state historic parks, and one state reserve.

Recreation - Some of the most popular recreation activities available in the Central Valley include swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping. In addition, the areas numerous wildlife refuges offer many wildlife viewing and bird watching opportunities.

Climate - A generally warm, dry climate prevails in the Central Valley. Weather is normally hot in the summer and mild in the winter. Precipitation in the Central Valley falls mainly from October through April in the form of rain. Winter temperatures below freezing produce frost, however, snow is very rare. The foggy season is November through February. The fog usually burns off by mid-day. From March through October the sun shines 90 percent of the time. Daytime summer temperatures above 100 degrees are part of the normal pattern.

Location - The Central Valley Region stretches 450 miles down the center of the state, from Willows in the north to Bakersfield in the south. It includes the cities of Davis, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield. The main highway accessing this region is I-5.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: If you are planing a trip to the central valley in califorina. Here are a few things to know. First is the fastest way through this valley highway 99. this highway runs throught the middle of every town mentioned in this site info about the valley. second bring plenty of water for both you and your car when traveling in the summer months. This valley has an average temp of 110 degrees in August. I know I have lived my whole life. Third Plan you trip verry well with backup plans. After all this is california land of both beutie and surprises. don't realy on haveing cell phone service in any of the national parks. cell repeater towers are not allowed with park boundries. And please remember that you a guest of the wild life in there domain. do not try to pet the bears in the parks, or swimm with the sharks on the coast, you will become part of the food chain if you do. When in the valley remember that this was once a vast desert. we have every thing from snakes to bats. This valley is one of the richest and wildest places on earth. Some times when the sun comes up in the morning you feel like your in heaven. And when it set at night on one of the many lakes you feel like theres no other place on earth. one of my favorite spots to fish for big mouth bass is millerton lake. jusgt north of fresno. of hiway 41. in the evening as the sun goes down the fish bite and fight hard. right before the sun drops a very light pulpe glow covers the hill sides. it is one of the most prety site to witness. I recommend millerton lake in the spring for camping. when the temp is still warm during the day and cool at night. for mid summer to fall try some the higher lakes iin the forest for camping. in the fall eastman lake, hensly lake and some of the other smaller lakes are good. California is abundant with life everywhere. Just follow a few simmple saftey guidelines stay alert and you will have one of the best trips anywhere. Best wishes from the local yokle.

More Information

Contact Information:
California Welcome Center, Merced, 710 West 16th Street , Merced, CA, 95340, Phone: 209-384-2791

California Tourism, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-GO-CALIF

Additional Information:
California Regions - From the Gold Country to the San Francisco Bay Area, from the Central Coast to San Diego County, these regions are home to State Parks, National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, National Recreation Areas, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas and much more.

The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust - Deal with conservation issues and offer recreation programs, including canoe trips, on the San Joaquin River.


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