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Great Valley Grasslands State Park
Valley Quail ©
Valley Quail
Spring Hike ©
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31426 Gonzaga Road
Gustine, California   95322

Phone: 209-826-1197
The park preserves one of few intact examples of native grasslands on the floor of the Central Valley. The park is part of the larger Grasslands Ecological Area (GEA) of federal, state and private lands all managed for wildlife values. The GEA represents the largest remaining contiguous block of wetlands in California. Several rare and endangered plant and animal species inhabit the park, including alkali sacaton, a native bunch grass, and the Delta button celery (Eryngium racemosum) a state listed endangered species found in the flood plain of the San Joaquin River. Biologists have also reported the California Tiger Salamander and endangered vernal pool fairy shrimp and tadpole shrimp. Springtime wildflower displays, fishing and wildlife watching attract visitors to this undeveloped park, which also encompasses the former Fremont Ford State Recreation Area.

History of the Area
Located in California's Central Valley, the park was established in 1982. It spans over 2800 acres of native grassland habitat. The area is one of the few remaining examples of such ecosystems left within the state.

The land has a rich history with Native American tribes like Yokuts and Miwok who lived here for centuries before European contact. In more recent times, it served as grazing lands during Spanish colonization and later under Mexican rule.

In an effort to preserve this unique ecosystem, several conservation groups worked together to secure its protection status from development threats around late twentieth century.

It offers visitors opportunities for wildlife viewing including rare species like Tule Elk or San Joaquin Kit Foxes along with recreational activities such as fishing and hiking trails.

Great Valley Grasslands State Park offers scenic picnic areas with tables, often near water or under the shade of trees.
- San Joaquin River Trail: A 2-mile trail that follows the river, offering views of riparian habitats and wildlife; flat terrain.

- Salt Grass Loop: This is a short half mile loop through salt grass fields with opportunities for bird watching; mostly level ground.

- Wetlands Walkway: An easy one-mile walk around seasonal wetland areas where various waterfowl can be seen during migration seasons; boardwalks in some sections.

- Cottonwood Creek Trail: Approximately two miles long, this trail winds along Cottonwood creek showcasing native plants and potential sightings of local fauna like deer or foxes.

- Wildflower Meadow Path : Half-a-mile path cutting across wildflower meadows blooming seasonally from March to May ; relatively even surface suitable for all ages.

- Grassy Plains Hike : Three-miles hike traversing vast expanses of open plains providing panoramic view over park's landscape ; moderate difficulty due to slight elevation changes throughout the route.

- Birdwatcher's Delight Route : One-and-half mile circular route passing by several prime spots ideal for observing diverse species especially during springtime migrations ; binoculars recommended .

- Riverside Ramble Track : Two-miles track running parallel to riverside featuring lush vegetation , abundant birdlife including herons & egrets plus occasional otter sighting possibilities .

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Area Campgrounds
Merced River Resort
7765 Campground Road
Delhi, CA
Nearby Hotels

The park is located south of Stevinson, CA, 1 mile south of highway 140 on Highway 165.

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California State Parks