Monday, June 28, 2010

Euche Bar - American River Canyon

On Monday, June 28, 2010, G.H. and I hiked the Euche Bar Trail. We hiked across the bridge and then to the left until we came to a point where a creek flowed into the river.  I filled my two Nalgenes there. and then on the way back at the bridge.  

Directions To trail head:
Take I80 to the Alta exit, turn right onto Morton Road and immediate left onto Casa Loma. Drive 2.7 miles to the second railroad crossing, the trail head is .75 miles past this. The parking area has two pit toilets. The trail head is about 500 feet east of the parking area.

An old car that fell off the road at what it now the start of the trail

Move to the right of the Euche Bar Bridge to access the water

View from the bridge
The remains of some mining machinery
The trial.
This snake was swimming in the water as I went to fill my Nalgenes.

Where the creek flows into the river.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Clark's Hole Trail - Forresthill Bridge

Did the Clark's Hole Trail (aka Clark's Pool) on Friday, June 26.  It is 1.2 miles up and back to a swimming "hole."  This PDF map and description provides the needed information on how to get there and what to look for to find the trail.

From Sacramento take 50 past Auburn then take the Foresthill exit toward Foresthill.  Go over the dramatic Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in the United States and the site of this scene from the Vin Diesel's film xXx.


About a half mile past the bridge take the Old Forest Hill Road.  Take it down to the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River.  Park right after you cross the Old Forrest Hill Bridge.  There is a turn-out with a sign and pit toilet. Go up the fire road until you reach the point where the Stagecoach Trail joins the road.  About 25 paces up is where the narrow side trail to Clark's Hole drops off.  This trail was barely noticeable.

 The spot where the trail breaks off the fire road.

 The trail drops off along the canyon and is at times quite narrow.  In some places, a careless slip could leave you tumbling over a 100 feet off a nearly shear cliff.  The trail also has some poison oak.  This is described as a "family friendly" trail, but I was a bit concerned taking my kids.

We walked under the Forresthill Bridge and passed a couple of rock slides, one of which obscured the trail.  I found it covered under some broken branches.  This  made me wonder if the locals were trying to hide their swimming hole from outsiders.  It turns out this was probably not the case.  When I nearly reached the end of our destination, I came to the blueberry patch described in the above PDF.  The vines were so think, I had to slash my way through them with my Swiss Army Trekker.  It appeared that were were the first people to do this trail this season.

After emerging from the thicket, we scrambled down the rocks and found the "pool."  It is actually a bend in the river with a flat rock outcropping. The rock has some nice natural stairs down into the water.  It appears that the water is quite deep around the rock.

The water was supposed to warmed by Lake Clementine, but is was still pretty cold at the end of June.  Apparently, the locals know this.  On the other side of the river was a lone guy reading a book.  A bit later a family group with a baby arrived on the other side of the river and the men swam over.  It would appear that it is easier to hike the other side of the canyon. 

Kids playing on the rock at Clark's Hole.

Flat rock outcropping at Clark's Hole with
the Foresthill Bridge in background.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mt. Ralston Peak

On Father's Day, June 20, 2010, we hiked Mt. Ralston Peak.  We started at the trailhead right across the highway from the Camp Sacramento sign.  Has a good size parking area on the side of the road.  Hike the road up to the church.  There is a sign with free day use Desolation Valley Wilderness Permits.  About halfway up we ran into snow, which we trudged through without crampons.  Last 20% of the trail was lost in the snow. We decided to high straight up to the peak, which we found without trouble.  Seems it would be better to hike a little later after the snow is gone. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mumford Bar

We did the Mumford Bar and part of the American River Trail on Monday, May 14, 2010.  The book Tahoe Hiking and Camping has a nice quote about this.

"You would have to be part mountian goat and part idiot to want to try this hike.  Guess how we know.  The trial leads almost straight down to the North Fork American River for more than 3.2 miles, and you know what that means.  Right - it is almost straight up coming back."


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oat Hill Mine Trail - Bear Encounter

The Oat Hill Mine Trail follows the remains of a public road started in 1873 and and officially opened in 1893. It was blasted and carved out of steep mountainsides in the town of Calistoga. The road was used to haul cinnabar, which was discovered there in 1872. After World War II, the road was used by Jeep enthusiasts. After several deaths, the road was closed to vehicles in 1979. The trail is very rough with much rock. Great views with interesting geology and history. Wear boots. There is no water on the trail. I used 2 liters of water on a 78 degree day.

Calistoga is about an hour and 45 mile drive from Sacramento (Google Map). On Lake County Highway Highway 29, right after you pass Silverado Trail there is a small dirt parking lot where the trail head starts.  A covered sign has the map and historical information.  You can also pick up a paper copy of the map there also. 

The highlight of the hike occurred when were were about a mile up.  We spotted a large brown colored black bear lumbering onto the trail.  He stopped for a moment, perhaps catching wind of us, before moving down the steep incline.  He never made eye contact with us.

A close-up of the bear we spotted.  This wide-angle shot does not portray the bear's considerable size and proximity.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stebbins Cold Canyon - Lake Berryessa

I read this article in the Sacramento Bee about the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. The writer apparently had trouble with the trail, but we found it well developed. The website YoloHiker has a map and additional information. It is about a 50 minute drive from Sacramento, outside of Winters. We did the four mile Blue Ridge Loop Trail in three hours and 15 minutes, with a few short breaks. This was a great hike with a 1200 foot elevation gain that follows the top of a ridge and then dips into a valley. We hiked it counterclockwise, starting with the climb first.

This is a view from the ridge looking down at Lake Berryessa.

There are three trails outlined on the map at the trail head (although there are apparently others). Part of the preserve is controlled by the Univesrity of California. This pat is called the Homestead Hike.

A mud slide in the mid-1990s took out part of the trail. A series of stairs were placed in this section and throughout the Homestead hike.

Some of the ruins of the homestead are still visible.

Another view of Lake Berryessa.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Watt Ave to Pond Recreation Area

Started at Watt Ave and hiked east to William B. Pond Recreation Area.

It took 2 hours and five minutes, with about a five minute break at Pond Lake.

Up the trail and back is about 6.8 miles.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Watt Ave to Guy West Bridge

Hiked the section of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trial - AKA The American River Bike Trail from Watt Ave to the Guy West Bridge. Thie trail offers a loop that takes about two hours.

Access the parking lot on the south side of Watt over the the river. $5.00 county parking fee (or park in Safeway lot and walk over).

Photo: A view from the Guy West Bridge.