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Heron Point Loop Hike

New Melones Recreation Area

Central/San Joquain Valley, California

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Heron Point Loop Hike

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  • Heading out to Heron Point from the campground.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • View of the Highway 49 bridge over New Melones.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • Heron Point Trail.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • New Melones Lake.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • New Melones Lake.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • New Melones Lake.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • One of the numerous heritage oak trees around the lake.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • Winter at New Melones.- Heron Point Loop Hike
  • Day use area on Heron Point.- Heron Point Loop Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Uncrowded. Lovely views of the lake.
Cons: 
Hot and dry in summer.
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Region:
Central/San Joquain Valley, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
175.00 ft (53.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
Recreation Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
2.90 mi (4.67 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
942.00 ft (287.12 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The New Melones Reservoir was created in 1980 by a dam across the Stanislaus River that inundated the river valley and the world-class whitewater rapids on the river. Very controversial at the time, approval for the dam took many years and was fought by Friends of the River and other conservation organizations. Since then, the lake has rarely been close to full and in 2016 was just 15% of capacity. Because of the low water level in recent years, boating activity on the lake has diminished and visitor activity in Tuttletown Recreation Area is low. In spite of this, there is a lot to like about the area. The lightly-used campgrounds are modern and well-maintained, and there are many hiking trails that wind above the lake and offer great views and solitude.

The Heron Point Trail makes a wonderful  loop starting at either the Acorn Campground or the Heron Point Day Use Area. There are great views of the lake and surrounding hills. The trail is fairly flat, and depending on water level, there are many points of land to explore that are not accessible when the lake is higher. Fall and spring are the times to visit here, as the summers are brutally hot and the winters generally rainy.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
14 Members
Who's Done It
1 Members
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559 Adventures Published

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