Hiking

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Cache Creek Area Plan

  

Putah Creek Reserve Trail    |    Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area    |    Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area

Valley Vista Regional Park Trails    |    Blue Ridge Trail    |    Fiske Creek Trail

Frog Pond Trail    |    Rayhouse Road    |    Road 53 to Pierce Canyon Falls

*Information for hiking trails collected from Yolohiker.org



PUTAH CREEK RESERVE TRAIL

Putah CreekYou can do this hike in either direction, and any of the sections. I will describe it from Pedrick road to Old Davis road. Note that the south side of the creek is private property and the trail is on the north side of the property on University land. Do not go on the south side. The area of the creek open to the public is ONLY on the north side of the creek between Pedrick Road and Old Davis Road. Upstream from Pedrick Road and downstream from Old Davis Road is not open to the public or is private property

Starting at the Pedrick Road parking area, hike east along the dirt road on the north side of the creek that parallels the creek. Cross under the Pedrick road bridge, and continue downstream. When the dirt road gets to the fire ring picnic area, it will become paved. You can walk down to the fire ring area, and then back up to the paved section of road, or continue on a trail near the creek (can be underwater in winter). Continue toward the Brooks road parking area, downstream. From the Brooks Road parking, there is a trail continuing to Old Davis Road.

Distance: From Pedrick road to the gravel parking area at the levee, it is 1.2 miles. From the levee to Old Davis road, it is 1.5 miles. No discernible elevation change.

For more information on the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, click here.

There is a map downloadable from the University at this link.

How to get there:

Depending on which trailhead you are going to, there are a number of ways to get to the parking spots.

Be Aware: The south side of the creek is private property. The trail is on the north side of the creek on University property. Do not hike on the south side of the creek.

Pedrick road parking: There is a gravel/wood chip parking area on the north side of Putah Creek, west of the Pedrick road bridge, on UCD property. If you are headed south from Russell blvd, turn right just before the bridge and park in the gravel/wood chip parking area. Sometimes people illegally park on the south side of the bridge next to the road but this is private property, so don't park there!

Fire ring parking: Take Hopkins Road south, past the airport, until you see the creek. Park off of the side of the road, on the north side. The fire ring picnic grounds have picnic tables and a fire pit.

Brooks road parking: Continue on Hopkins road past the airport, go past the fire ring parking, and continue on the paved road until it begins to curve north, and you see the beginning of the gravel levee road. Park outside of the levee gate in the gravel parking area. The trail starts at the gravel area, and parallels the creek. There are two picnic tables here as well.

Old Davis Road Parking: There is a new parking area at Old Davis Road. It is on the north side of the creek, downstream from the bridge. It is a big gravel area, and the gate is always open. Park here, instead of the side of the road. It's much safer. There are two picnic tables here as well. Don't park on the south side of the bridge, since this is private property!


YOLO BYPASS WILDLIFE AREA

There are numerous loop trails around the wetlands. While the area is very flat, the lure of this area is the ease of walking for all ages, the abundant wildlife (especially during bird migrations), and the proximity to West Sacramento and Davis. Enjoy our local wildlife area!

Distance: There are numerous looping paths, so the distance can be as much as you like.

How to get there:

From Davis, take Chiles road or I-80 east. Take the Chiles Road exit (if on I-80), and drive up the levee access ramp, following the signs to the parking area in the Bypass. There are several parking areas and trailheads to experience the wetlands.


FREMONT WEIR STATE WILDLIFE AREA

Fremont trailFrom the west side, park at Road 116 and hike on the river side of the weir. You can see wonderful riparian forests and the Sacramento River.

From the east side, park at the top of the levee, and hike north along the levee, until you reach the weir. Then hike west, between the weir and the river, same as the western hike.

Distance: There are no developed trails, so the distance can be as much as you like.

How to get there- West Side Access

Access to the Wildlife Area from the West is on Road 116A. From Woodland and Davis, take Road 102 north of Woodland. Turn east on Road 16 (right), then north (left) on Road 116B, and east (right) on Road 116A. Park at the end of the road.

East Side Access:

From Woodland And Davis, take I-5 toward Sacramento, and get off immediately after the causeway, before the bridge over the Sacramento River, onto Old River Road. Turn left and go under the highway, then immediately turn right onto Road 117. Continue on 117 until you hit Road 16. Turn left onto Road 16, and drive to the end of the road and up onto the levee. Park on the side of the road on the levee.


VALLEY VISTA REGIONAL PARK TRAILS

Yolo County bought this 614-acre ranch around 2000 or so. It was a wonderful purchase, since it linked up Camp Haswell Park to Bureau of Land Management public land on Blue Ridge. In 2010, it was named Valley Vista Regional Park.

Tuleyome volunteers built the first official trail, the Valley Vista Trail, starting from across the highway from Camp Haswell, and rising up to join the existing trail which leads from the base of the hill at the highway, up to a high point known as Rumsey Knob. Rumsey Knob is a scenic overlook of the Capay Valley and Rumsey Canyon. It's steep up to the spur ridge to the overlook, rising 1700 feet in 2 miles. A nice hike is up to the first knoll (about 1.3 miles each way) with a picnic table for eating lunch and enjoying the view. Portions of the trail can be steep, so bring good shoes and hiking poles.

Distance: 4 mile round trip, if you go all the way to the overlook and back. valley vistaSome continue on a fire break up toward Blue Ridge and Fiske Peak. A portion of this is bushwhacking up to the ridge, once the fire break ends.

How to get there:

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay Valley. Pass through Capay, Guinda, and Rumsey. Camp Haswell Park will be on your right, just after Rumsey. The first trail can be accessed across the highway from Camp Haswell. There is a sign for Valley Vista Regional park at the trailhead Park on the pullout on the side of the highway. The hike winds up the side of the hill, with easy switchbacks cut into the hillside.

The second trail is past Camp Haswell, around the bend and past the bridge over Cache Creek. After crossing the Highway 16 bridge over Cache Creek, park on the side of the road immediately after the bridge, on the north side of the road. The hike starts at a gate on the south side of the road, immediately before the bridge, so you will have to walk back across the bridge to reach the trail. There is no parking directly at the trailhead.


BLUE RIDGE TRAIL- NORTH

Definitely not for beginners. Also, be sure and go during cooler weather, because you will get quite warm going up the trail. That said, here is what the hike is like:

blue ridge 2The hike starts the same as the Frog Pond Trail. You cross the low water bridge of Rayhouse road (a.k.a. road 40), then follow the road to your left, passing through the yellow gate with the sun shaped pattern on the fencing. This access road takes you to a small clearing. On your right you will see the metal sign announcing the Blue Ridge Trail. Follow the trail up Still Gulch, as it winds to the top of Blue ridge. You start off in the trees, but after a few turns you will end up in the more open hillsides of the ridge. At the first clearing you will be able to get a clear view of Glascock mountain on the opposite side of the creek and highway. You will quickly begin your ascent of the ridge. Once you reach the top of the ridge, the trail levels off, and you have just a few short up-and-downs to get to Fiske peak. Be sure to look for the metal USGS survey marker at the top of the peak. That's how you know you have really arrived! (as if the panorama of the valley below doesn't tell you.) The trail continues along the ridge to the Fiske Creek Rd. trailhead. If you piece together this hike with the Blue ridge south hike, you can have a very long loop.

Distance: 4 miles from the trailhead to Fiske Peak. (one way) Total elevation gain of 2100 feet.

How to get there:

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay valley. Once you pass the town of Rumsey, you begin to enter the Cache Creek Canyon. The road will narrow and you will be driving with the creek on one side and the canyon walls on the other. When you see the Cache Creek regional park sign on your left, turn into the parking area. This is the lower park site of three that Yolo county runs as park of Cache Creek Regional park. You can park in the parking area, or at a number of pullouts on Rayhouse road, before the seasonally-closed gate. Walk down Rayhouse road, past the gate, down to and across the low water bridge. The trailhead starts downstream from the bridge, on the side of the creek opposite the Highway.

BLUE RIDGE TRAIL- SOUTH

blue ridgeThis hike is for those who don't want to work too hard going uphill, but still want the vistas that the Blue Ridge trail from Cache Creek gives you.

The hike starts at the parking area and climbs about 200' up to the ridge. Once at the ridge, follow the ridgeline north until you get to fiske peak. Once on the ridge it is rolling and pretty easy.

Distance: 1.4 miles from the parking area off of Fiske Creek Road to Lowrey peak (one way). Total elevation gain of 400 feet to Lowery peak. 4 miles to Fiske peak from the parking area off of Fiske Creek Road.

How to get there:

NOTE: As of March, 2009, the low-water bridge over Cache Creek on Road 40 (Rayhouse Road) in Yolo County is closed to vehicle traffic due to the piers being undermined. To get to this trailhead you will need to hike, bike, or horseback ride in. I do not know if the access from the Napa/Lake County side is passable.

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay valley. Once you pass the town of Rumsey, you begin to enter the Cache Creek Canyon. The road will narrow and you will be driving with the creek on one side and the canyon walls on the other. When you see the Cache Creek regional park sign on your left, turn into the parking area. This is the lower park site of three that Yolo county runs as park of Cache Creek Regional park. You can park in the parking area, or at a number of pullouts on Rayhouse road, before the gate. If you want to drive up Rayhouse road, you have to make sure it is open and that you have 4 wheel drive. Drive up Rayhouse road until you reach the top of a saddle, and you see a BLM road sign at a 4-way intersection. Go East (left), and eventually you will get to a parking area at the headwaters of Fiske Creek, at the base of Blue Ridge. There is a gravel parking area, and this is where the trail starts.


FISKE CREEK TRAIL

The Fiske Creek Trail is one of the best undiscovered gems in Yolo County. Breathtaking views of Blue Ridge, a cool creek, and expansive glades of Blue oak make this a pleasure to hike.

Starting from Rayhouse road, the trail starts off fairly level, then begins to drop down to the creek. The creek is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, mostly downhill (remember that you have to climb up this hill on your way back, however!). It is 4 miles to the end of the trail at Fiske Creek Road.

Once you reach the creek after 1.5 miles from Rayhouse, you never really leave it. You cross the creek at least half a dozen times, and there are plenty of opportunities to splash in the water!

Distance: The trailhead for Fiske Creek trail is 2.5 miles up rayhouse road. You can drive or hike this, depending on if the road is open. The Fiske Creek Trail is 4 miles, one way, from the trailhead off of Rayhouse road to the end of the trail at Fiske Creek road. The trail starts at elevation 1540 at Rayhouse road, drops to 1200, and slowly rises to 1740 at Fiske Creek Road.

How to get there:

NOTE: As of March, 2009, the low-water bridge over Cache Creek on Road 40 (Rayhouse Road) in Yolo County is closed to vehicle traffic due to the piers being undermined. To get to this trailhead you will need to hike, bike, or horseback ride in. I do not know if the access from the Napa/Lake County side is passable.

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay valley. Once you pass the town of Rumsey, you begin to enter the Cache Creek Canyon. The road will narrow and you will be driving with the creek on one side and the canyon walls on the other. When you see the Cache Creek regional park sign on your left, turn into the parking area. This is the lower park site of three that Yolo county runs as park of Cache Creek Regional park. You can park in the parking area, or at a number of pullouts on Rayhouse road, before the gate. Walk down Rayhouse road, past the gate, down to the low water bridge. If Rayhouse Road is open, you can drive the three miles along Rayhouse road to the Fiske Creek trailhead off of Rayhouse road. The trailhead has a sign, and the best way to make sure you don't miss it is to look for the rusty metal cylinder (the old Sulphur Spring) on the right-hand side of the road, at about the three mile mark. The trailhead will be on your left.


FROG POND TRAIL

The Frog pond trail hike takes you through oak woodlands to a small pond. The pond is said to have some very large frogs living in and around its shores. Some say this hike is strenuous, but it really is nothing compared to the Blue Ridge Trail. I think it is a great hike with a variety of fabulous views of Cortina ridge, Glascock mountain, and some stunning blue-oak woodlands.

frog pondThe hike starts the same as the Blue Ridge Trail. You cross the low water bridge of Rayhouse road (a.k.a. road 40), then follow the road to your right. After you pass by the stone barn and stone house, you will see the trail on the right side of the road. Turn right off of Rayhouse road and begin the hike up to the pond. The trail is 5 miles long, and lassos around, forming a nice partial loop. One of the best short hikes in the region. If you are there on a hot day in early summer, take a dip in the frog pond. Click here to hear a recording of a vocal frog by the pond. (Sam Bledsoe recorded this during one of our hikes. This was actually recorded at the frog pond, so what you hear on the page, you will most likely hear on the hike!)

Distance: 3.5 miles round-trip. Total elevation gain of 660 feet

How to get there: 

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay valley. Once you pass the town of Rumsey, you begin to enter the Cache Creek Canyon. The road will narrow and you will be driving with the creek on one side and the canyon walls on the other. When you see the Cache Creek regional park sign on your left, turn into the parking area. This is the lower park site of three that Yolo county runs as park of Cache Creek Regional park. You can park in the parking area, or at a number of pullouts on Rayhouse road, before the seasonally-closed gate. Walk down Rayhouse road, past the gate, down to the low water bridge. Cross the bridge and continue along the road until you pass the stone barn and stone house. The trailhead will be about a tenth of a mile past the house, along the road.


RAYHOUSE ROAD

This hike is along a dirt road that leads to the top of of the ridge. Normally, I would hardly consider hiking along a road as being a hike. However, this is no ordinary road. Rayhouse road is closed more often than it is open, making it the perfect hiking area during winter and early spring. It is also a great area to mountain bike, and leads you to some of the most spectacular views in the region (second only to blue ridge).

The hike starts the same as the Blue Ridge trail and Frog pond trail. You start out by crossing the low water bridge, and turning right, following the road. Follow the road the entire way up to the ridgeline. Along the way, you will be treated to gorgeous views of Blue ridge, Fiske Creek canyon, and Glascock mountain. The trail winds through blue oak woodland, chaparral and grassland. At the top, you will be treated to 360 degree views, and a view of the entire Blue ridge. Spectacular.

From the 4-way intersection of Lang's Peak road, Fiske Creek road, and Rayhouse road, you have the choice of turning back, hiking down to Cache creek along Lang's peak road, hiking to Davis Creek reservoir, or hiking Fiske creek road to the southern Blue ridge trail hike. All of these points are far away, so it is a two day adventure to continue on. I usually just hike back down, my need for great vistas having been satisfied.

Distance: 5 miles from the low-water bridge to the Four Corners at the top of the mountain, one way. 1800 foot elevation gain.

How to get there:

From Yolo county, Woodland and Davis, take Highway 16 up the Capay valley. Once you pass the town of Rumsey, you begin to enter the Cache Creek Canyon. The road will narrow and you will be driving with the creek on one side and the canyon walls on the other. When you see the Cache Creek regional park sign on your left, turn into the parking area. This is the lower park site of three that Yolo county runs as park of Cache Creek Regional park. You can park in the parking area, or at a number of pullouts on Rayhouse road, before the gate. Walk down Rayhouse road, past the gate, down to the low water bridge.


ROAD 53 TO THE PIERCE CANYON FALLS

53 fallsYou have two options for this hike. If you park at the Guinda post office, hike up Forrest ave. (aka. Road 53) toward the mountains. At the end of the paved section of the road, the road will turn left (south) and you will see a gate (see the photo on the side). The gate will have two signs on it; the first sign will be in the center, and will read: Livestock - Keep gate closed. The second sign will say No Trespassing, and will have a handwritten message saying 'All the land behind this gate is private property. Trespassers will be prosecuted by the owner.' The sign is misleading. Yes, all the land is private, but it is a PUBLIC road. So you may hike it, bike it, and even drive it (though I wouldn't recommend it; it's pretty rough). Like I said, not only did I confirm it's a public road by the County, but also by talking with other landowners off of the road. Again, stay on the road, and you are fine.

Ok, so on to the hike description. First, after you get to the gate mentioned above, either climb over (when it's locked in the winter by the County) or open, walk through, and close it behind you. Hike along the road, staying on the main road. You'll see a couple roads branch off to the left and right. The one on the left is private, and is marked Bud Light Drive (great sense of humor). The second goes right, between massive stone pillars that mark a private drive to the Casey Flat Ranch. Road 53 goes straight. You'll wind up through Pierce Canyon, which has breathtaking steep cliffs, a nice creek, and beautiful oaks. Eventually you will wind away from the creek, heading into the hills. About 3 miles from the gate, you'll get to the best view of the falls. I usually end the trip here, since the road goes on for another mile and a half but your best vistas end here. You can still wind through oak woodlands if you continue the hike, however, so it's up to you. Remember, when you see the end of the county road sign, that's as far as the public right-of-way goes. The hike to the falls overlook is a 1000-foot elevation gain. I've posted a video of the falls, below.

Bottom line: Frankly, I love this hike. There is nowhere else in the Blue Ridge between Rumsey and Winters where you can see the private lands, oak woodlands, and wonderful gorges that are back there. This road/trail takes you into the heart of the mountains above the Capay Valley, and is truly a treasure. Use it, enjoy it, and make sure this public right-of-way stays in the public domain. It's also the closest hike to Woodland and Davis, outside of Cold Canyon, so it's great for a quick getaway.

53 falls 2Distance: The entire hike is between 6 to 8 miles, out and back to and from the falls. It's 6 miles round trip if you park at the end of the paved road (park 500-feet from the gate as the area between the gate and 500-feet back is a No Parking zone). If you park at the Post Office, it's an 8 mile round trip.

How to get there:

How to get there: From Yolo County, take Highway 16 to Guinda. You have two options for where to park and start this hike. Option 1 is to park at the post office in Guinda, located across from the general store. Option 2 is to turn left at the Guinda general store, and drive one mile back to the end of the paved section of Road 53, and park on the side of the road. Be aware that there is a 'No Parking' zone from the gate at the end of Road 53, until about 500-feet to the east, just before the last residential driveway. You are free to park on the side of the road before the 'No Parking' zone. Option 2 takes two miles off the round trip. Just be sure to not block any gates or the roadway.