Jenkinson Lake – Sly Park Recreation Area

Walter E. Jenkinson

Walter E. Jenkinson

I’ve been lucky lately to work in locations that lend themselves nicely to a hike or trail run afterwards.  Last summer I did a half marathon trail race in the Sly Park Recreation Area, which is about 60 miles West of Lake Tahoe.  It was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done (keeping in mind that I’m a marathon runner), but it was beautiful.  So knowing that I was going to be working out near that area, I took advantage of planning to hike the 8.5 miles loop trail around Jenkinson Lake.  I later agreed to work a job in the evening, but didn’t want to forgo my hike, so the hike quickly became a trail run (done in half the time!)  And I’m so glad I went!  If you want a nice mellow trail (at least during the day mid-week) with picturesque views of the lake, trees, and Sierras, this is a real treat!

Bumpy Meadows Trailhead

Bumpy Meadows Trailhead

I started out from the convenient parking lot at Bumpy Meadows just off of Mormon Emigrant Trail Road.  $5 to park and plenty of spaces mid-week, although I was informed that occasionally during the off-season this parking area is closed (mainly due to snow) leaving parking options to the main road with much fewer spots.  From here you’re pretty much a few steps away from the lake.

Jenkinson Lake

Jenkinson Lake

The trail follows the shore of the lake pretty much the entire loop except for a few places when it turns into a road through the very popular campground areas.  The trail is well established and very well marked especially at the points where the horse trail splits and reconvenes with the main trail.  I did however run into some unexpected short, steep climbs.

Good for hill training!

Good for hill training!

And then I spotted something which made me think about being more prepared with bug spray!

Yellow Jacket Trap

Yellow Jacket Trap

The next few miles of the trail were marvelous bringing me across quiet sitting areas and creeks with the comforting sounds of rushing waters.

Meditative Spot

Meditative Spot

Park Creek

Park Creek

Park Creek Bridge

Park Creek Bridge

A nice day for sailing as well!

Sailboat on the Lake

Sailboat on the Lake

I’ve definitely decided I want to do this loop again.  It’s a little ways from Sacramento, but totally worth the drive and a great place to stop going to and from Lake Tahoe.  I was a very happy girl yesterday!

Post Trail Run

Post Trail Run

 

 

Sweetwater Trail, wait… what?

This past weekend in Sacramento was gorgeous! Since I was out in the Folsom area on Saturday, I decided to go for a quick hike near Folsom Lake. With my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Sacramento book in hand, I set out to find the Sweetwater Trail which is about 10 miles North of Highway 50 near El Dorado Hills. I followed the directions exactly and was pretty sure that I’d found the appropriate parking area; however, when I walked down to the trail head this is what I saw…

Brown's Ravine Trail Head

Brown’s Ravine Trail Head

It was already close to 3:00 pm and wanted to get in 6 miles so I thought, “What the heck,” and started down the trail.

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

Views of Folsom Lake

All in all it was a great day and a nice quiet hike. I still prefer the Auburn State Recreation Area to the Folsom Lake Recreation Area for hikes, but this was a nice excuse to get out while I was in Folsom. Oh and did I forget to mention why I was in Folsom? The REI used gear sale. Yes, guilty as charged, but look forward to some gear reviews from me soon!

Upper Bidwell Park – Chico, CA

I had a job out of town on Friday, so I took the opportunity to check out a hiking area in Chico, which also happens to be the home of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (more on that later!)  I consulted with a few of my Sacramento friends who had previously lived in Chico about where I should go to hike and they told me, hands down, Upper Bidwell Park.  The land for Bidwell Park was donated by John and Annie Bidwell in 1905 for recreational use.  It turns out that Annie, being a strong supporter of prohibition, mandated that there be no alcohol allowed on the premises and no public picnics on Sundays.  Although the alcohol mandate still applies today, I highly doubt that people aren’t allowed to picnic on Sundays judging from the amount of people that were enjoying themselves there on Friday.

Upper Bidwell Park Trailhead Map

Upper Bidwell Park Trailhead Map

I started out parking near Horseshoe Lake, which wasn’t much of a lake, but more like a giant mud puddle.  However, people were kayaking around in it, so I’m guessing it has some depth.  From Parking Area B, I hopped on the North Rim Trail.

North Rim Trail

North Rim Trail

I decided I wanted to practice carrying a little more weight, so I strapped on my day pack with all of my overnight stuff in it, and headed up the trail.  It was a gorgeous day (around 75 degrees!) and plenty of people were taking advantage of the trails.  I quickly hiked toward the junction to Middle Trail which would take me by Monkeyface, a rock formation that apparently looks like a monkey’s face, but I couldn’t see its resemblance.  Regardless, I continued down Middle Trail and to the top of Monkeyface.  I encountered a grandmother and her grandchildren having lunch at the top – cute!  From there I caught the remaining loop section of the North Rim Trail, and followed it right back around to the Parking Area.

View from atop Monkeyface

View from atop Monkeyface

Lone early wildflower

Lone early wildflower

All in all I hiked about 3 miles in 1 hour carrying my 20 lb pack and I felt great!  Aside from the hiking, I was able to enjoy a few beers at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company before heading out of town!  I’ll leave you with this mouth watering picture.  Until next time – cheers!

Left to Right: Double-headed Ruthless Rye, Ovila Quad, Fungoo, French Saison

Left to Right: Double-headed Ruthless Rye, Ovila Quad, Fungoo, French Saison

American Canyon/Dead Truck Trail

Today I was able to get out for a quick 2 hour hike near Georgetown in the Auburn State Recreation Area (about 30 miles East of Sacramento) on the American Canyon Trail.  This is a easy to moderate 5.3 mile loop trail with a great amount of shaded sections (great for the summer heat in Sacramento!)  And although I wasn’t able to find the trail that lead to the waterfall bragged about in my guide book, it was still a nice hike.  It covers some of the sections from the Western States Trail which hosts many annual races including horse and trail running.  This is a great beginning trail to take occasional hikers on; they won’t be bored and will have a decent challenge.  For more experienced hikers, this will be a breeze.  I look forward to more hikes in this area.

American Canyon Trailhead

American Canyon Trailhead

Hoboken Creek

Hoboken Creek

Wendell Robie Trail Marker

Wendell Robie Trail Marker