Outdoors

Room to roam

In autumn and winter, when the days get shorter and cooler, people look closer to home for recreational opportunities. Here are some of the best places to bike, run and walk without leaving the Fresno-Clovis area.

1. WOODWARD PARK

Location: Corner of Friant Road and Audubon Drive

Length: Variable

Traffic: Leave the pavement behind to find a vast network of footpaths and dirt roads; trails shared among pedestrians, joggers and cyclists

Scenery: Green grass, ponds and rolling hills

Amenities: Ample restrooms, benches and water fountains; vehicle entrance fee (normally $4) is waived from November through January

2. MACMICHAEL TRAIL

Location: Between Woodward Park and the San Joaquin River

Length: 2-mile loop

Traffic: Pedestrians, joggers and cyclists share a wide dirt path; area is also popular with dog owners

Scenery: The former Jensen River Ranch is filled with native oaks, shrubs and grasses; segment of trail runs alongside the river, within earshot of Highway 41

Amenities: Near the river you'll find a portable restroom and picnic benches (Note: Will be closed for construction in winter)

3. EATON TRAIL

Location: Parallels Friant Road from Woodward Park to the Coke Hallowell Center

Length: 5 miles

Traffic: Smooth pavement is shared by cyclists, joggers, skaters and stroller-pushing parents; heavier on weekends and evenings

Scenery: Sweeping views of the San Joaquin River basin, gravel-mining ponds and bluffs

Amenities: Occasional benches, water fountains and portable bathrooms, but not much shade

4. WOODWARD LAKE

Location: From Audubon Drive, go north on Friant Road to Lakeview Drive and make a right

Length: 2.2-mile loop

Traffic: Residential area is moderately busy with pedestrians and cyclists, especially during the evening

Scenery: Some of the most well-kept lawns and gardens in Fresno; lake is pretty, but there's noaccess for nonresidents

Amenities: Several benches, but no restrooms or water fountains

5. SUGAR PINE TRAIL

Location: From Nees Avenue across from the River Park Shopping Center, it shoots northeast to Shepherd Avenue and then east to Willow Avenue

Length: 4.5 miles

Traffic: Trail crosses numerous roads and shopping mall entrances, meaning frequent encounters with cars

Scenery: Corridor between Audubon and Shepherd is nice, but after that it's basically a residentialbike lane

Amenities: None - unless you count Jamba Juice

6. CLOVIS OLD TOWN TRAIL

Location: Parallels Clovis Avenue from near Dakota Avenue northward to Old Town Clovis, then heads northwest under Highway 168 to just beyond Willow and Nees Avenues

Length: 6 miles

Traffic: Former railway gets heavy use from cyclists, joggers and pedestrians on weekends; underpasses north of Sierra Avenue reduce interaction with cars

Scenery: Gritty and industrial south of Old Town Clovis, then gets prettier farther north through residential areas

Amenities: Several benches and a couple of water fountains, but not much in the way of bathrooms

7. DRY CREEK TRAIL

Location: Leaves Clovis Old Town Trail from just north of Herndon Avenue and follows Dry Creek northeast to Shepherd and Sunnyside avenues

Length: 2.5 miles

Traffic: Relatively light, considering it bisects several housing developments; crossings at Alluvial and Nees avenues can be a headache

Scenery: Hands down the prettiest bike path in town thanks to combination of flowing creek, waterfowl-filled ponding basin and numerous shady trees

Amenities: Occasional benches and water fountains; restroom at Peach/Alluvial Park

8. KEARNEY PARK

Location: From downtown, follow Fresno Street for 1 mile to Kearney Boulevard. Turn right and continue 6 miles to park

Length: 1.5-mile loop and 4.5-mile bike path along Kearney Boulevard heading east

Traffic: Park roads are nearly empty, even on weekends; vehicle traffic on Kearney Boulevard is surprisingly light, too

Scenery: The perfect country setting. Park boasts an impressive collection of mature trees, and palmlined Kearney Boulevard is a delight

Amenities: Plenty of picnic areas, restrooms and water fountains in the park; none on the bike trail; $5 vehicle entrance fee

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