Kaweah Oaks Preserve
January 22, 2005
I went for a hike today at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve near Visalia, CA. It is a preserve
owned and operated by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust and it contains several hundred
acres of meadows, creeks, and oak woodland. The Valley Oak,
Quercus lobata, grows here
and it is the largest species of oak in North America; it is also the longest lived. It grows
only in the lower elevations in the Central Valley and Coast Ranges of California. Some of
the oaks in the preserve are older than 300 years and are hosts to many native insects,
birds, and mammals.

It was a foggy and cold day in the Valley and I only saw two others at the Preserve. I
walked on the Grapevine, Wild Rose, and Swamp Trails. Of the three I definitely liked
the Swamp Trail the best... There were birds galore out there! I saw and heard several
hawks and as I neared Deep Creek the racous calls of blackbirds drowned out all other
sounds. In the willow trees were dozens of smaller birds flitting here and there. I also
saw a cottontail rabbit and several coyote prints. At Turtle Pond I looked for Western
Pond Turtles which are a threatened species but I was not lucky enough to spot one; they
were probably hiding under the bank out of the cold air.

There are many native plants at the Preserve - Arroyo and Black Willow, Blue Elderberry,
Santa Barbara Sedge, Equisetum, Ferns, California Sycamore, California Blackberry, Wild
Grape, Cottonwood, Ryegrass, and Virgin's Bower. The willows have already flowered and
their petal-less flowers, called catkins, made for a nice subject. I was also fascinated by
tiny, very tiny, mushrooms growing on the oaks.

I walked about 5 miles then returned to my truck as it started to get dark. It's a nice
area which doesn't seem to get a lot of use and I'm thinking of returning in the springtime
after the oaks have leafed out

Some pics...
More info about this area
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