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Blog Best Spring Hiking Trails Near Oakhurst
Ciara Turner-Ewert | 01/01/2023Family Friendly, Food & Beverage, Guest Stories, Hiking, Itineraries, Outdoor Activities, Plan Your Trip, Road Trip, Seasons, Stay with Us, Trails, Wildflowers, Wildlife |   

Where To Find the Best Spring Hiking Trails Near Oakhurst

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park is less crowded, and the waterfalls are rushing with fresh snow melt. There are Bridalveil Fall, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Wapama Falls, and countless other waterfalls to explore in the park (editors note - find out more about the many waterfalls in Yosemite, check out our Guide to Yosemite Waterfalls). But what most visitors don’t know is that the town of Oakhurst, Yosemite’s Southern Gateway, is also brimming with its own natural water wonders. 

Tucked just beneath the mountain ridge, this town features numerous hikes that showcase the glorious Sierra Nevada Mountains, blooming wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, and swimming holes screaming “play with us.” If you’re craving a more intimate adventure, here are the best hikes in Oakhurst to add to your spring hiking list. 

Address: Rd 630, Oakhurst, CA 93644 or park at the large turnout on Highway 41 

One of my favorite trails to explore during the springtime is Lewis Creek Trail which is about 7 miles from the Yosemite border. This not-so-hidden gem is a popular hiking spot for locals as it showcases colorful wildflowers and two beautifully flowing waterfalls. 

Corlieu Falls sits about 80 feet high and has a steep descent to view the waterfall from the ground up. This descent is 100% worth it, as it offers impeccable views of the falls, a refreshing pool for dipping your toes in, and prime spots for picnicking beneath the shade. 

On the other hand, Red Rock Falls are much smaller, cascading about 20 feet down. The falls are much wider, and I think the pools here are much better for swimming. Although, keep in mind that the water will be cold since the fresh snow melt, so tread lightly!

The trail fluctuates between medium and easy and is about 3.5 miles round trip, depending on which trailhead you park at. The main trailhead is at the large turnout on Highway 41, but there’s also a trailhead near Camp Sugar Pine on Road 630 called the Lewis Creek National Recreation Area North Trailhead. 

It’s important to note that there are no restrooms on the trail, but there are portable toilets at the trailhead. Also, this is a popular picnicking spot, so remember to leave no trace after dining among the beautiful evergreen trees.

Address: Rd 432, Bass Lake, CA 93604

Along the North side of Bass Lake are the famous Devils Slide (or Devils Slide Falls) and Angel Falls. Each of these water attractions are located on Willow Creek, offering a cold retreat to hikers escaping the heat in the area.

Devils Slide is one of the most unique water attractions I’ve seen, as it’s not your typical waterfall. Rather, it’s a long gentle granite slope with a rushing water slide that spans about 600 feet and has aqua greenish mini pools. Follow the slide down, and you’ll immediately be greeted by the other waterfall, Angel Falls. 

Angel Falls, in comparison, is quite larger and is a picturesque fall that continues to flow down the granite rock into Willow Creek. And during sunset, the colors here are quite immaculate. We witnessed the light reflecting colorful rainbows as the sun kissed the waterfalls goodnight.   

The best way I found to access these falls was by parking at the Falls Day-Use Parking Area. In total, Willow Creek Trail is a 3.1-mile loop, but I found access to falls from this parking area much shorter. To reach both falls, it took us about 30 minutes for a moderate climb up the hill. 

When hiking this trail, it’s important to use caution and stay on the trail while hiking this area. It can be extremely slippery here, and many accidents have happened before.

Oakhurst River Parkway

Address:  49044 Civic Circle, Oakhurst, CA 93644

In the heart of Oakhurst is the newly revamped Oakhurst River Parkway. This beautiful nature trail is a community project designed by countless volunteers to restore and protect the natural environment in the town.  Along the trail you’ll find countless stops that flaunt the wildlife in the community, a historical park (Fresno Flats Historical Park), a community park, and various other community buildings. 

In addition, the trail gently follows the Fresno River, so stay alert to hear the quiet sounds of rushing water. To complete the trail, it’s 2.8 miles. Keep in mind, it’s extremely flat and rated easy. I highly recommend adding this leisure hike to your itinerary after hiking some more intense trails like Lewis Creek Trail. We did this hike mid morning to beat the heat and had the most amazing time, then grabbed lunch at Idle Hour Winery and Kitchen.  

What’s also great about this trail, is there are multiple starting points. We began our hike at the Community Park, since we found it has the best parking lot. 

But, if you’re craving a different experience, start your hike by hopping on the Oakhurst Trolley. It stops right in front of these two highly-rated hotels, Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites and Holiday Inn Express & Suites. 

Looking for a place to stay? We personally stayed at each of these hotels and have absolutely loved our stays as the hotel staff were extremely friendly. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites has an enormous breakfast buffet with stylish colorful rooms. While Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites has a sauna, steam room, and an outdoor jacuzzi.  

What are some tasty restaurants and shops to try?

Hiking isn’t the only part of the fun you’ll find tucked away in Oakhurst. After all you’ll need to eat! Yummy food experiences are at the top of list for many travelers. Whether that’s aromatic cuisines, fried comfort foods after a long days hike, or romantic milieus that add to the experience — mountain towns are notorious for their cute mom and pop eateries.

Ducey’s Bar and Grill

Address: 39255 Marina Dr, Bass Lake, CA 93604

Duceys Bar & Grill Bass Lake

At the top of the list for the most romantic spot for breakfast and dinner is Ducey’s Bar and Grill located at the Pines Resort. This farm to table restaurant is located upstairs at the resort and features sweeping vistas of Bass Lake. Imagine rosy orange sunsets over the lake, while munching on pan-roasted brussel sprouts, sweet and spicy calamari, pastas, seafood, and more. What’s even more impressive is the ingredients are local sourced too. 

Stop by the Pines Market that’s located on the cutely decorated main street found  within the Resort. We stopped by here to grab snacks for our hiking trips both in Oakhurst and Yosemite. You’ll also find souvenirs, s'mores kits, clothing, and alcoholic beverages.   

The Forks Resort

Address: 39150 Rd 222, Bass Lake, CA 93604

Right across the Bass Lake is another sweet spot for grabbing lunch post hiking, The Forks Resort. This resort has a restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor dining to take in the surrounding area. Here you’ll find traditional American food, salads, breakfast staples (i.e. eggs, pancakes, french toast) and more.  They also have a shop on site too if you need any travel snacks, or last minute travel items.   

Idle Hour Winery and Kitchen  

Address:  41139 CA-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644

If you’re a big fan of wine tasting, you’ll want to add grab brunch or lunch at Idle Hour Winery and Kitchen. Ranging from Petite Sirah and Pinot Noirs from the Central Coast to Syrah, Viognier, and more from Madera County — there’s an abundance of wines to try. 

This restaurant is found just outside the center of Oakhurst and is a romantic spot for any adventurers needing a moment of rest and recovery. Here you’ll find cheeseboards, hearty salads, sandwiches, and flat breads. 

Plus, during the weekends they also have live music at the beer garden right below the winery at the Queen’s Inn. Be sure to double check their website for upcoming events.

Mix and match these hikes and restaurants to craft your dream trip to Oakhurst!

Ciara is a travel writer, health & wellness writer, certified wellness & transformative travel coach, and a world traveler who’s visited over 30 countries. Her work has been seen in USA Today, Essence, Travel Noire, and many other publications. When she’s not writing for publications or coaching, Ciara is traveling the world with her amazing husband, eating chocolate chip cookies, and writing for a wellness travel blog she founded, Wellness Travel Diaries. On her blog, you’ll find adrenaline-seeking inspiration, outdoorsy adventures, drool-worthy allergy-friendly eats, and tried and true wellness hacks.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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