2 and 3 are on BLM land, and Hike 1 is on University land. Hike
2 is a loop!
Hike #1, Homestead hike:
The primary attraction of this area is the University of California's
natural reserve. The hike into the reserve is straight up the canyon,
and ends at the old homestead. You start after the silver gate,
and follow the trail going straight. This will take you around the
bend, and you will see a large field of boulders. There was a huge
landslide in the winter of 1995 (or '94, I never can remember).
I remember hiking here right after the slide, and the area was completely
barren. It has been fun to watch the area regenerate over the past
few years, and you can see the early successional plants starting to take
hold. Look for Coyote brush, redbud, and yerba santa on the slide
area. After you pass through the slide area, you will see the reserve
entrance sign and a sign-in box. Be sure to sign in before you take
The hike will take
you up the canyon, paralleling the creek the entire way. At several
points there will be places to go to the creek, so be sure to take the
opportunity. When you reach the old
homestead, be sure to follow the trail back to the old cold storage house.
If you look in the creek next to the storage house, you may see salamanders.
Be sure to look in the Spring/early summer for the little guys.
mile to the old homestead (one way), and a total elevation gain of 520
Hike #2, Blue Ridge loop trail:
At the end of winter, 2002, UC Davis completed this loop trail. You start
out by doing Hike 1, going up the canyon to the homestead. Then take the
spur trail from the homestead, up to Blue Ridge. Continue north along
Blue Ridge, until you get to the end of the ridge. The trail will then
head back down to the canyon to the trailhead. You can, of course, do
this trail in reverse, and head up the west side to begin with. It is
much steeper uphill, however.
At the north end of
blue ridge, as you head back down the canyon, make sure to go out to the
rock outcropping to the north. This rock outcropping gives you a
great bird's eye view of the Dam, lake, and Creek. When the Spillway
is overflowing at the Dam, it looks like there is a great hole in the
lake! Go near the end of Winter to see this.
mile loop, with a total elevation gain of 1500 feet. Moderate to very difficult.
Hike #3, Pleasants Ridge hike:
This hike goes up the east side of the canyon, up a steep slope through
blue oak woodland and grassland. It offers great views of Cold canyon
as you hike up, and terminates at a rock outcropping on the ridge.
The ridge is spectacular, and is a real knife-edge. Great views
of the Putah Creek wildlife area and the valley can be seen from here.
mile to the top of the ridge, with an elevation gain of 1040 feet. Yes,
this is steep! Moderatly difficult.