Join us at New Melones this Fall!

Written by: Sarah McBride

Fun at New Melones
Fun at New Melones
There's lots going on this fall at New Melones Lake! We hope you will join us! Here's a look at what we have planned:

If These Rocks Could Talk
Saturday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m.
Natural Bridges parking area
The Mother Lode’s geology is a source of fascination. One of the more curious geological features of the area is Natural Bridges. Take a hike with Park Ranger Josh and learn how water and time has shaped the landscape. Along the trail, learn a bit about the local flora and fauna. This is a moderate to strenuous 2-mile roundtrip hike. Participants should bring: water, snacks and shoes appropriate for hiking. We will meet at the Natural Bridges Trailhead parking lot off Parrotts Ferry Road at 10 a.m. Dogs are not allowed on the Natural Bridges trail.

All Aboard! A Journey on the Angel’s Branch of the Sierra Railway
Part II – Calaveras County side of New Melones Lake
Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m.
Overlook on Hwy 49, north side of the Stevenot Bridge
After crossing the Stanislaus River, the railroad faced a seemingly impossible challenge of climbing out of the Stanislaus River Canyon. The rugged terrain prompted early railroaders to name a section of this precipitous stretch of rail line “Gee Wiz Point.” Come and explore part two of our journey along the Sierra Railway as we walk along the old railroad Right of Way to this point and learn about the “dynamite train” tragedy of 1906. Also learn how the railroad continued to serve the area until 1935, when this branch was abandoned and the rails were removed.

Giving Thanks to Nature
Saturday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m.
Glory Hole Recreation Area
Buck Brush Day Use Area
Work off some of those extra Thanksgiving calories with a hike on the Angels Creek Trail in the Glory Hole Recreation Area. Join Park Ranger Pat and discover what nature offers during the fall season at New Melones Lake on this moderate 2.5-mile roundtrip hike. We will meet at the Glory Hole Entrance Station at 10 a.m. and then caravan down to the Angel Creek trailhead. Please bring water, a jacket and sturdy footwear. Participants will be issued a free parking pass for the duration of the event.

Snakes Alive!
Saturday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m.
New Melones Lake Visitor Center
Winter is fast approaching. Many critters that call New Melones home hibernate during this time of the year, including snakes. Be prepared for the spring and gain an appreciation of those misunderstood denizens of the Mother Lode. Join Park Ranger Mike for a slide show on all things that slither. At the same time, meet our Visitor Center snake before he slumbers away for the winter.

Geminids Meteor Shower
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 6 p.m.
Tuttletown Recreation Area
Eagle Point Picnic Area
The Geminids has been referred to as the “King of Meteor Showers,” producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. The peak this year is the night of Dec. 13. Join Park Ranger Diana for the best show in the heavens. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky. Telescopes will be on hand for viewing. For additional information, please contact Park Ranger Diana Popkins at 209-536-9094 ext. 218 or

New Year’s Day Hike
Monday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m.
Parrotts Ferry Bridge
Welcome in 2018 with an energetic hike along a section of Table Mountain. The trail travels through California’s distinctive chaparral plant community, a sun-drenched ecosystem perfect to explore on a winter’s day. Along the way, catch a glimpse of history by viewing what remains of the Duchess Gold Mine. Join Park Ranger Sam for this strenuous 3.5-mile loop hike. Please bring plenty of water, a jacket and sturdy hiking boots. We will meet at the parking lot on the Calaveras County side of the Parrotts Ferry Bridge at 10 a.m. Please call 209-536-9094 ext. 233 if additional directions are needed.

School Programs
Available Upon Request
Water is Life! Schools are invited to join a park ranger and visit New Melones Lake to learn about water and other life-sustaining natural resources. Through interactive lessons and activities, students will gain a firsthand appreciation of local ecosystems. In addition to the on-site learning at the lake, park rangers are available to conduct classroom visits. For more details on free, school programs, please contact Park Ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233 or

If you would like to participate in a program, need accommodation, or have any questions please contact Park Ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094, ext. 233, or email

Published on October 27, 2017