Sky Harbor Day Hike

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Fresno’s main claim to fame is that it is “close to everywhere you want to be” – 3 hours from San Fran or LA, 90 minutes into Yosemite or Sequoia Kings Canyon, 2.5 hours to the coast – this catchphrase is certainly true. However, I couldn’t help but note the irony that a being close to everywhere you want to be implies that one would not so much want to be there exactly.

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Local hikes like Sky Harbor put this notion to the test by offering a stunning birds-eye-view of the San Joaquin, Table Mountain and the snow-capped Sierras beyond. SAMSUNG CSC

This morning was gorgeous – a crisp 65 degrees. One of my favorite hiking buddies came along for the trip.SAMSUNG CSC

Sky Harbor is a bit off the grid… through a cow pasture actually. Watch where you step.
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Like nearly every Sierra Nevada hike I’ve done, the first quarter mile is where most of the elevation gain happens.

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Even then, it only takes about 30 minutes of moderate hiking to reach the top. Even with the drought, the San Joaquin was glittering green, winding below the Table Mountain it slowly sculpted.

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As you can see, this branch of the river has dried up entirely. Gov. Brown declared the water shortage a state of emergency in January, and I’ve been telling my students that I’m doing my part to ease the water crisis by not washing my car… truth is, I’m lazy.

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Directions: Take 41 to Friant Road and continue on Friant past River Park toward Millerton Lake. Continue on Millerton Road toward Table Mountain Casino and turn left on Sky Harbor Road as though you are entering the casino parking lot (only don’t, your wallet will thank me). Follow Sky Harbor about 10-15 minutes beyond the casino until the road ends at Finegold Recreation area. The gate is often closed, but the locals know to save the $10 registration fee by parking along the road. 

To enter the trail, walk down toward the picnic area and follow the trail to the right. Technically part of the San Joaquin River trail, Sky Harbor is about 2.5 miles round trip, but can be extended.

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