The Bay Area Coast to Crest Trail has a huge portion open to the public ranging from Mokelumne Coast to Crest Eastern Terminal (Across the street from Electra Road) and it meanders for twenty nine miles past the John Bull Loop Trail, Cook’s Mesa Trail Access, Patti’s Point, Rich Gulch Trail and Middle Bar.
I’ve ridden the section from Pardee up to the point for a beautiful view of the Bay Area.
When you plan your hike, or horseback ride, be sure to bring water, snacks, change of socks, or maybe, even, a change of shoes, and a walking stick, can all come in handy, if not essential, when hiking or horseback riding the trail. You may even want to pack some water for your horse(s). There is water at the staging area, but nothing at the top of the hill. There is a large pond if you continue down the other side of the hill, but we weren’t up to the extra hike down to the water. There are NO dogs allowed.
- Water – This one should be fairly obvious. Dehydration comes on quick in the warmer weather, as well as during the colder weather. A thermos of fresh water is a must.
- Snacks – You may or may not want to bring snacks. I have kids, so they’re an essential like water. It’s about a 45 minute walk/ride to the top. Realistically you could make it up and back without a hunger pain, but what fun even a small picnic can make!
- Shoes/socks – if you’re prone to sweaty feet, an extra pair of socks will come in handy. Wear a pair of old faithful shoes if possible, or bring a spare pair. Sore feet can be the end all to a nice hike/ride.
- Walking Stick – Yep, a walking stick. These here are the mountains. There ARE wild animals in the area. Cougars, coyotes, snakes, raccoons, skunks, they all live up here. A good walking stick is for more than just walking! It can be of great benefit if you meet a critter on the trail. If they are not on your immediate trail then simply ignore it and go around keeping a good distance, this is their home we are visiting. Keep the walking stick between you and the critter. Don’t wave it around or strike anything with it. Use it if you must keep the critter from advancing on you. If they are on your immediate trail, then turn around and find another route. DO NOT CHALLENGE THE WILDLIFE.
The trail from the staging area at Pardee Reservoir to the top is a moderate, slope, sometimes a little challenging. The first leg of the trail ride is to head west across a pasture to the road. There’s bulls and cows grazing and resting, they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. When you get to the gate, open it, and then make sure you close it behind you. Cross the road and open the next gate, and then close it behind you. Make sure you close the gates!
After crossing another pasture you’ll find yourself at the foot of the hills. There is the slightest of inclines and depressions, but nothing to break a sweat over. The canopy of trees makes for a pleasant, cool, walk to the top.
The trail weaves around the trees and past some small meadows. The bird activity in March and April is like a chorus singing. The butterflies come in just about every shape, size and color! Some were the size of my hand, then others are as small as my fingernail, all white with orange tips on their wings.
When you’re about to reach the top the trees suddenly stop and there’s a gated fence. After you pass through the gate a huge, beautiful, expanse of scenery opens up in front of you. You have a clear 360 degree view. Mount Diablo stands tall far behind the Camanche Reservoir which are both straight ahead as you walk through the gate. To the right Pardee Reservoir with it’s dams can be seen. The view is breathtaking. There are benches to sit on for the weary and there are places to tie your horse if you bring one, or more.
There are more trails available and a map you can download here from E.B.M.U.D.
Be respectful of the area and its wildlife and have a wonderful hike!