One of the goals for this visit to the Golden State was to catch-up with my old friend Ken (and his partner Julie) when his energies weren’t being given totally to the grape harvest. So after we finished our hike of Oat Hill, we went over to Ken and Julie’s for an excellent dinner, some of Ken’s wine, and a discussion of which hike to do together the next day. The weather forecast looked excellent – finally sunshine! – so we decided to hike the Moore Creek Trail from the Las Posadas trailhead down to the Moore Creek trailhead (brochure). This was the third hike in our week of wandering the Golden State.
After setting-up a car shuttle, we started out from the Las Posadas trailhead under refreshingly sunny skies.
Pretty soon, Ken, who is intimately familiar with this area, having written hiking guides for the Napa Valley, took us off-trail through a boulder strewn area called Recreation Flat.
Thanks to the wet winter, the intermittent stream that crosses the Flat was actually running.
After crossing the Flat, we got back on a dirt road heading south through the forest toward Moore Creek.
A little ways along the road, we popped out of the forest into a field that was glowing with California Goldfields. And there was sunshine!
There were also a lot of other wildflowers blooming, some of which we could readily identify and others that we’ll just have to appreciate for their aesthetics.
Shortly after passing the open field, we came to the start of a new trail (just three weeks old) called “Dan’s Wild Ride.” As the name suggests, it was built as a mountain bike trail but works just as well for simple ground pounders. We started off down the new trail,
and soon reached the first of what would be five crossings of Moore Creek. Fortunately there’s a wooden balance beam at each crossing to provide a water-free (if your balance doesn’t fail) crossing.
After this first crossing, the new trails climbs the eastern slope of the creek canyon,
to give us a nice view down canyon,
before descending again to Moore Creek.
The creek, thanks to the wet weather, was going pretty good,
so that the unhappy thought of falling in it added a certain frisson to each crossing.
Our third crossing went well,
as did our fourth.
The shade along the creek and the creek itself (with its excellent swimming holes) would seem to make this an ideal summer hike when it was too hot to be weaving around in the sun drenched, and hence sweltering, hills above. After our fourth crossing, we ambled along through the forest for a bit,
before making our fifth, and final, crossing of the creek.
After that, we transited some more oak forest,
before breaking more into the open about a mile from the southern trailhead.
From the southern trailhead, we shuttled back to Las Posadas. All in all, it was an excellent hike (8.3 miles; 1,400 of elevation loss) on a beautiful day through amazing scenery with great friends. Our timing with the weather (and for visiting during the quieter off-season) couldn’t have been better. If Ken and Julie are willing, we definitely plan to take advantage of his knowledge of this area to do some more hikes here.