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| 03/23/2020 | Dine, Family Friendly, Outdoor Adventures, Sequoia National Park, Things to Do

GREAT THINGS TO DO WHEN PHYSICAL DISTANCING IS A MUST

By now, most people are heeding the advice of medical experts and government officials by practicing physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet from one another). Here are some suggestions on what to do during this period of “together but alone.” Visalia is located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, just outside two of California’s most beautiful national parks as well as near Sequoia National Forest and other open lands. With miles of trails, beautiful lakes and views beyond compare, this is the place to be for outdoor activity.

According the website Mental Floss there are many health benefits to being outdoors. Being outdoors is fun, but even more importantly, it’s good for the brain, body, and soul, says Mental Floss. One of the top benefits of being outside is that it boosts your energy. And who doesn’t need more energy? Winter and early spring is cold and flu season.  Being outdoors can actually boost your immune system which is another great benefit. More energy and a strong immune system are two things we all need right now. There are many more benefits to the great outdoors. You can read the whole list here

What does Physical Distancing mean? For most healthy people it means staying at least 6 feet away from one another. It is that easy. So here is a list of things to do and places to go to get outdoors while maintaining a safe distance.

*All Areas of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are currently closed* - Updated 3/25/20

Most of the public areas of the parks, including the Highway 198 entrance at Ash Mountain are closed. However, there are two areas that are still accessible. The roads that lead to these two spots are just outside the park entrance and allows you to get outdoors and implement physical distancing. Hiking is a great way to get a change of scenery and benefit your mind, body and soul. Wide pathways in the park make it easy to stay clear of other hikers and maintain a safe physical distance. Below are some suggested hikes:

North Fork Trailhead: Once part of the original road from the foothills to Giant Forest, this trail ends at Crystal Cave Road, 11.2 miles (18.0 km) from the trailhead. This trail is maintained and offers beautiful scenery for your time outdoors. Additional, unmaintained routes offer a challenge for experienced hikers and riders. 

Ladybug Trail: This relatively easy trail begins at the end of the parking area and ends at Whiskylog Camp in the South Fork sequoia grove. As you hike, look along the ridge to the north for views of Homer’s Nose, a prominent granite dome. Also check out Garfield Grove Trail and South Fork Trail.

The great thing about bird watching is that you can do it almost anywhere outdoors.  

Mooney Grove Park: Located near the edge of the city, Mooney Grove park is home to many types of birds and other wildlife. Peacocks display their colorful plumage, ducks swim in the lagoon, which is stocked for fishing, and many other birds call the park and its many oak trees home. Hawks and maybe even a Turkey Vulture can be seen here. 

St Johns Riverwalk: This paved path follows along the St Johns River. Though the river flows seasonally to provide water for agriculture, there are many types of birds that gather here. Follow the path from the trail head at Ben Maddox east to Cutler Park, another oak tree oasis.

Yokohl Valley: The road through Yokohl Valley winds through the foothills along grazing lands and farms. Along with seeing some cattle lumbering along you may spot hawks or even the rare eagle.

*Kaweah Lake Visitor Center and Project facilities are closed, but the Lemon Hill boat ramp is open for public use. Check for day use areas to open soon* (Updated 5/26/2020)

Kaweah Lake offers wide-open spaces with amazing views. Rent a patio boat or fishing skiff from the marina and take a picnic from your favorite local restaurant out on the lake. 

Ride your bike along some of Visalia’s great bike paths like the Santa Fe Trail or along St John’s River. There are miles of paths to explore throughout the city.

Mooney Grove Park is California’s oldest county park and boasts beautiful oak trees, a disc golf course and more. The park is open for visitors. The lagoon is stocked with fish if you want to drop your line in. 

Note that while the arbors and play equipment may be currently restricted from use, there is plenty of grass under the shade of the oak trees to enjoy the outdoors. See if you can find the Boy Scout log cabin, see the "End of the Trail" statue, and find the statue of Hugh Mooney and his beloved dog.

As you walk along a trail, let others know you are near. Step aside, even off of the path, if necessary, to keep a safe distance. And as always, do not go outside if you have symptoms or if you have a fever, a cough or are sneezing.

Along with Physical Distancing and avoiding personal contact, wash your hands regularly with soap and water. We all have the power to save lives. And remember that we are in this together, just 6 feet apart.


During these unpredictable times, some of these spaces may close unexpectedly. The Visit Visalia team asks for your patience as we work to keep up with this ever-changing situation.

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©2020 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141