COLD CANYON/BLUE RIDGE LOOP February 9, 2003
Apprised by the fine website, yolohiker.org, I learned of this recently built trail only a short way from home. Wishing a good Sunday afternoon jaunt, I motored through Davis, then Winters, CA, and onto Highway 128. It was almost 1 p.m. when I started up this trail. Many cars were at the trailhead parking, but the only facilities were back at a private resort.
Plenty of hikers were seen here today. The area is a nature preserve, run by the University of California, Davis. The trail was damp in the canyon, with short sections of muddy spots. I saw no flowers at first. The creek was flowing well, with clear water down smooth rocks. I came to the homestead ruins after a half hour, and then the new section of trail continues.
More wooden stairs sped me up the steep, brushy hillside. I had to strip out of my third layer. This trail is similar to the other Blue Ridge hike, to Fiske, with steep and winding turns. But I knew that not much hiking is needed to gain this ridge.
On top of what is Blue Ridge's southern extension, the sun was bright. The trail goes right over a couple bumps. I ran into other hikers, and wished that this ridge was higher.
The high point of the hike is a local summit, at some 1,580+ feet elevation. My summit time was some 80 minutes. But, with no benchmark or name by the maps, I will decline to "count" it as a peak. Mt. Vaca (2,819') overshadows everything here. I took some time resting near some views a few yards north of the summit's highest rocks. I declined to place any register, although I'm sure people would enjoy it. Maybe another trip.
Lake Berryessa is right below to the northwest, making the main feature seen from the top and along most of this ridge trail. I could see the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada, and part of the Central Valley.
In an pleasant fashion, the trail heads north along the top of the ridge. Up here, the trail was baked dry. Some hands-on scrambling is actually needed! There is another bump the trail runs over the top of, and more views of Lake Berryessa are gained. There is a lower rock outcrop, with a side use trail, that has a view down to the dam.
Some sections downward from here are steep, with erosion wiping out the middle of the trail. This part is relatively short, though, and soon easy hiking downward brings one back to the bottom of the canyon, and shortly back to the highway. An inverted truck marked someone's attempt to drive up the now gated dirt road a short way.
Back to the car at 3:45 p.m., I chose not to climb up another side trail for more conditioning. I recall doing that side trail a while ago, anyway.
After a good drink of water, I motored east back to Winters, CA, where I strolled about the historic section and snapped a few more photos. There are no fast food services, so I didn't get any drink or food.
Using Russell Boulevard going back to Davis, I wished to someday try the bike and running trail that runs along the street. It goes quite the ways out of town.
The loop is given as 4 miles, 1,500' gain. Seeing no ticks, I saw some poison oak sprouting. I shot about 125 digital images. My motoring used less than a quarter tank of gas. This is a fine workout hike, but the trail is reported to get slippery with rain. I took this trail today as there has been a long dry period here in this supposed El Nino winter! And, spring is coming!
BACK TO PETE'S THOUSAND PEAKS HOME PAGE