Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park

February 20, 2022
Several trails in the park.
Total distance walked: 2.70 miles

On a cloudy but warm Sunday afternoon, my sister Gracia and I strolled through the 400-acre Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park located in Madera County, California.  In the early 1990’s, local residents pushed for establishing this park.  The area has an interesting history prior to that time.


From the parking lot, we walked to the Back Country Horsemen of California information board.  Along with seven miles of hiking/walking trails, there are six miles of equestrian trail.


Passing the info board, we quickly came upon the remains of an old fireplace.  In 1918 Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus Counties, who owned the property, created the Tri-County Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Dozens of structures were built including a hospital, quarters for doctors and nurses, a children’s home, and a school. The sanatorium closed in 1969 due to new treatments for tuberculosis.  The area then became a school for troubled boys.

Still standing from the olden days.

Gracia and I walked a circuitous route over rolling hills and under old oak trees.


Though we didn’t see the birds, their happy chirps and trilling made the trees ring with song.

Holes drilled by woodpeckers.

In the 1800s, the land was home to Native Americans.  The park is named for the Native American word meaning deep, grassy valley—ahwahnee.

Up the hill and behind the boulder is a lookout point.

There are many trees in the deep, grassy valley.


Continuing our walk after a brief rest on the bench, we came upon the Lakeview Trail.


Walking past the 15-acre wetland—also known as the lake—we spied waterfowl dawdling in the dun-colored grass.


Geese glided steadily across the water’s surface toward shore.


Leaving the lake, we crossed a couple of wooden bridges then took the Apple Tree Trail where many of the trees had been cut down.  Long ago, the sanatorium staff grew fruit and vegetables.  I wondered if this was where they gardened.

The sign says, Apple Tree Walking Trail.

This area is rich in history.  There is so much more to see and learn, but it will have to wait until the next visit.

10 thoughts on “Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park

  1. What a peaceful and beautiful spot to enjoy. Nothing like being in the great outdoors. The photos as always tell the story of your adventures and how fun to spend time with your sister. I love sitting and taking a moment to read your posts, it is relaxing and I feel as though I am a little bird traveling with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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