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Cache Creek Ridge Trail Section 2

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Ukiah Field Office oversees extensive areas of public land in the Coast Range where Colusa, Napa, Lake and Yolo counties come together around Cache Creek. Most of the public lands are part of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, but BLM holdings in Colusa County were unfortunately excluded from the National Monument.

One of the Colusa County areas of BLM public land excluded from the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is Cache Creek Ridge. Cache Creek Ridge is the divide between Cache Creek and Bear Creek and it also serves as the boundary between Lake and Colusa counties. In 2006, Congress protected the Lake County portion of the Ridge as part of the Cache Creek Wilderness. Unfortunately, the Colusa County part of Cache Creek Ridge was excluded.


Cache Creek Ridge is a major scenic backdrop for people driving State Highways 16 and 20. Like much of the Cache Creek region, the area offers outstanding wildflower displays in spring. The native shrub known as western redbud is also common in the area and can be identified by its bright pink flowers. Most of the trees are oaks, primarily blue oak, but there are also many gnarled and twisted grey pines present. In addition to oak forest, the area also has extensive grasslands and areas of dense shrub growth known as “chaparral.” In fact, most of the Cache Creek region is draped in chaparral.

Cache Creek Ridge has a trail on it that offers one of the best hikes in the region. It is best hiked as a car-shuttle with vehicles left at both ends.


The hike:
The trail starts at the BLM’s Judge Davis Trailhead on the north side of State Highway 20. The trailhead is 3.8 miles west of the intersection of Highways 16 and 20. The trailhead has a bathroom and information kiosk and room to park several vehicles.


Visitors can either hike the steep old dirt road on the east side of the parking area, or take the official trail on the west of the parking area. Both routes climb Cache Creek Ridge, with the official trail taking a longer time because it takes a gentler path. When they reach the top of Cache Creek Ridge, the trail turns east and runs along the scenic ridgetop.


While the climb to the top of the ridge involves an elevation gain of about 1,500 feet over 2 miles, thereafter the trails stays fairly level atop the ridge for about 5 miles. Views are outstanding and include the Snow Mountain Wilderness to the north and the distant Sierra Nevada to the east. Cache Creek and Bear Creek can be seen glistening in the distance. The trail follows Cache Creek Ridge to a pond after 5 miles. The pond is the spot to turn around if you do not have another car waiting for you at the end of the trail. After the pond, the trail drops 2.5 miles and 1,080 feet in elevation to the confluence of Bear Creek and Cache Creek. In all, it is 9.5 miles from the confluence of Bear and Cache Creeks to the Judge Davis Trailhead. You’ll have to wade across Bear Creek to get to your vehicle.


Directions to the Cache Creek Ridge Judge Davis Trailhead:
From the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 20, take Highway 20 west for 22.4 miles to the Judge Davis Trailhead on the left (north) side of the road.


Directions to the Cache Creek Ridge Bear Creek Trailhead:
From the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 20, take Highway 20 west for 18.6 miles to Highway 16. Turn left (east). Take Highway 16 east for 7.1 miles to gate on the right (north) side of Highway 16 where Bear Creek and Cache Creek meet.

Please pack out your trash. As always, wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy shoes or boots and bring water. Don’t stick your fingers where you can’t see them (such as in rock crevices) because of the danger of rattlesnakes.


For more information: Please contact the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000. You can also find great information about the trail at http://tuleyome.org/trails/ccridge/

 

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Caution:
Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.