Posted on August 14, 2020 and last updated on August 16, 2020

Thurston Park, China


  • Preserve Size: ~400 acres
  • Trail Mileage: 5.2 miles in network
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Sights: forest, historical landmarks, streams

Finding this tucked-away park is half the fun—or challenge!—of exploring it. After driving down a lovely farm road (Yorktown Road) with long views, the street turns into a bumpy dirt road. Stay left when the road veers right (into someone’s driveway), and soon you’ll come to the park’s parking area and a trailhead kiosk.

There are two basic types of trails at this town-owned park: rocky, sandy multi-use tracks and narrower footpaths. For the most part, the footpaths are well marked, with occasional overgrown areas.

The major multi-use trail does a roughly 2.2-mile loop around the park, with footpaths branching off of it. There are good trail descriptions and lengths, and a good map, on this brochure.

Note: When we visited in the summer of 2020, Esker Trail — the footpath closest to the parking area — emptied into a big sandy lot. You have to cross this lot to find the trail sign for the next path: Rufus Jones Trail.

Directions: From the north end of China Lake, go east on Pleasant View Ridge Road. After 0.8 miles, go straight onto Dutton Road. After 1.6 miles, turn right onto Yorktown Road for approximately 1.4 miles to the parking area.


Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!