| 12/01/2023 | Fishing, Hiking, National Parks, Other Outdoor Adventure, Outdoor Adventures, Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National, Sequoia National Park, Things to Do


The nearby mountains, foothills, lakes and rivers provide visitors to Visalia plenty of enticing outdoor adventures. Our location at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains opens up opportunities for exploration whether it’s hiking, fishing or searching for waterfalls. Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks are the stars of your trips, but there are many places to explore. We offer these great options when you are looking for outdoor fun when you visit Visalia.

Hikers of all skill levels will find over 800 trails to choose from. Visalia has parks and trails throughout the city. Head a little further out to the foothills and the national parks and forests for even more options and breathtaking views. 

Families will enjoy the St. John’s River Parkway trail. The paved trail follows along the St. John’s River stretching from Cutler Park to the Riverway Sports Park. A popular stretch of the path is from the Ben Maddox trailhead with ample parking to the east where walkers, runners, and cyclists can take a rest at shady Cutler Park. Though the river flows seasonally, the trail is beautiful year-round.

The Kaweah Oaks Preserve is just minutes from Downtown Visalia. This riparian oak forest gives a glimpse at what the valley floor looked like 200 years ago with many sprawling oak trees. There are several paths to choose from.

Sequoia Riverlands Trust oversees several preserves in and around Visalia that are great for hiking, wild flower viewing in the Springtime, and event offer stewardship opportunities for those looking for a chance to volunteer. Along with Kaweah Oaks Preserve, hikers will love the beauty of Dry Creek Preserve and their native plant nursery. Nearby Homer Ranch offers miles of trails and scenic vistas. 

The national parks and forests have miles of trails, including connection to the Pacific Crest Trail and other backcountry options. Families will enjoy the Crescent Meadow trail, a level, easy trail. From here you can see Tharp Log, a tree used as a cabin. Of course, the Congress Trail near the General Sherman is a must see. Another family friendly route is the Big Stump Trail where evidence of past logging is seen. Stumps as big as a dance floor really emphasize how large sequoia trees really are.

Check out our list of the top trails to hike in Sequoia National Park as well as the best trails in adjacent Kings Canyon National Park

No outdoor exploration is complete without viewing some of nature’s most dramatic waterscapes. The crystal-clear mountain water flows through the parks and forest creating beautiful waterfalls. Here are several worth the visit:

There are lots of places to drop your pole in the waters. With a little preparation and the right equipment, a day spent fishing can be a relaxing day, even if you don’t get a bite! It is said that in Tulare County there are more than 100 secret fishing spots. While we won’t reveal them all, we do offer these tips and suggestions for a fun fishing adventure. 

Lake Kaweah just outside park boundaries is ideal for fishing. The Marina rents many types of boats from a small fishing boat to a larger patio boat for families. Head out from the docks and find a spot to drop anchor and cast your line. 

Many people are surprised to know that fishing is allowed in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. While park activities are meant to preserve and protect the parks for future generations, fishing is allowed in the lakes and streams. There are some limitations and fishing permits are required. Note that it is best to come fully prepared with gear and licenses as options within the parks are limited.

For fishing within the parks, head to Road’s End in Kings Canyon. There, anglers will find many easy-to-access fishing holes along with amazing vistas.

The local mountains are filled with secret, and not so secret, fishing holes. If you are looking for a guide to take you fly fishing, contact the local Fly Fishing club, Kaweah Fly Fishers. Along with guides and private tours, they offer free lessons. If you are in Visalia mid-week, drop in on the free fly-fishing lessons they offer. The group meets Wednesday nights at Valley Oaks Golf Course where they offer free instructions on the basics of fly-fishing (during daylight savings time, approx. March - October.) The group hopes to get more people “hooked” on fishing!

In Visalia, the lagoon at Mooney Grove Park is stocked with fish and is a great place to teach youngsters the basics of casting a line. Along with fishing in the lagoon, families can enjoy watching the ducks, geese and even peacocks strut around. Play areas and picnic tables are also available.

It is important to know and follow regulations regarding fishing. In California, all anglers over age 16 are required to carry and display a valid state fishing license. These are occasionally sold in national forest recreational areas such as Hume Lake in Kings Canyon. But, it is always better to come prepared.

For more information, including license fees, and fishing regulations, visit www.dfa.ca.gov or call (916) 445-0411. By California state law, fishing in lakes and reservoirs is allowed year-round, while the season for river and stream fishing runs from late April through mid-November.

In Visalia, fishing licenses are available at Big 5, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Walmart also sells licenses.

Throughout Visalia and the surrounding outdoor lands visitors can walk, hike, bike and explore from the Valley floor to the highest peaks. Whether you are looking for family-friendly spots or more challenging and rugged experiences, all can be found when you visit Visalia. More trail suggestions and waterfall locations, and family friendly outdoor activities can be found on our website.

©2024 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141
Visitor Center Hours
Monday - Friday 8am-5pm