Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stebbins Cold Canyon Hike

The Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, managed by UC Davis, is located off Hwy 128 near Montecello Dam (forming Lake Berryessa) in the Vaca Mountains between Winters and Napa. From the trailhead, we took the main western trail up a series of steep switch-backs to the top of Blue Ridge and followed the spine of the ridge to the end where it drops preceptiously down into Cold Canyon. Stone foundations of an old homestead are found at the bottom of the canyon. The main trail circles back to the trailhead following a creek bed. In a normal winter, there is a good flow in the creek. This season, the creek was bone dry.

The main loop trail is 4.75 miles with a elevation gain of approximately 1,500'. The major attractions of this hike are terrific overlooks of Lake Berryessa, and splendid views of the surrounding mountains and Sacramento Valley from the Blue Ridge Trail.

Note: To view enlarged photo, click on pic

Looking down on Lake Berryessa from the first overlook

Peering down on Montecello Dam. Note the bathtub ring along the shoreline indicating low reservior capacity due to a dry winter.

Great views from the top of an outcropping - Don Dupage, Bob Tribe,
Dick Fraschetti and Herb Lee

At another viewpoint

Switchback trail takes you up to Blue Ridge

The mountainside across Cold Canyon - looking east

Following the Blue Ridge spine to a small hump

View looking east down to Putah Creek and Hwy 128

Don on the Blue Ridge Trail

Another view of Lake Berryessa from a higher hump along the ridgeline

See the ridge trail - looking north

The lads at the high point, 1580' on the Blue Ridge Trail

Raptor poop on an outcropping

At the bottom of Cold Canyon, are the foundation remains of ye ol' homestead (above and below)


Stacey S said...

this is very helpful. thanks! a few of us are planning to hike this trail on saturday...

brthomas said...

Awesome photos from the ridge trail! I've been up there twice (Cold Canyon hiking 25sept2011, Cold Canyon wildflower hiking 11april2010), but I haven't hiked the full loop trail yet.