• Mark Eschbach
I was asked by another Den Leader for recommendations on where to take his Tigers. They are looking for something local, although this usually means within an hours drive to me other tend to have very different ideas.
We are fairly lucky to have a few places right here in Davis! I regularly walk the arboritum which is approximately 4 miles with slight evelation changes. Most of the path is paved although the redwood grove is compacted sand. There are many species of trees, bushes, and grass throught the path. There is even a section with cacti! Depending on the time of year you might find a lot of wildlife swimming in the water or purched upon the shores. (I’m not sure if you could call it a shore; it’s usually a chicken wire cage containing rocks). For Tigers the distance might be a little far, however you could easily cut up the path. If you start on the Gazebo side you could turn back at several bridges and have a picnic. Then again if you start from the Borders (always be the Borders parking lot to me!) side you can play some games at Lake Spafford.
Although the Arboritum starts at the edge of UCD and Davis, there are several bike paths in town which would work for a short hike. There is a bike undercrossing around Alhambra and East Cowell with a dirt and rock road skirting the Wildhorse development. It’s probably a few miles however provides a great view of the Sierras to the east. Unless the Tiger leader was trying to teach something specific I would probably recommend this path as a nice walk. There is a bike path on the north side of town which is also meant as a habbitat for birds. It’s apart of the rain water control systems and will probably be muddy at this time of year.
Just outside of town is the Raperian Reserve. We’ve hiked this one as a Den as Weblos 1s and with Troop 139 as a joint Troop-Den event. It’s a nice trail with along the southern diversion of Putah Creek to the West of town. As seems normal for the this area, the creek is about 10-20 feet down from ground level. The primary trail follows along the north edge of the canyon with offshoots into the flood shelf and down to the water. The canyon itself varies alot in width, however is generally 2-3 times the width fo the stream during the last-spring. The river collects a lot of the rain run off from the area and fills the canyon if there is a lot of rain. The water flow will slow quiet a bit during the heat of the summer and might disappear in many locations.
Going outside of town becomes interesting. To our east is Sacramento and the foothils. To the west is the costal range.
Looking towards the sun rise
If you don’t mind a hike in an urban area the California State Capital grounds are really beautiful. They are manicured gardens however I’ve found it very relaxing on my work breaks during the periods of time I worked downtown.
In Sacramento we have Discovery Park. It’s at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers. The park is fairly large with a lot of oppertunities to explore. For Tigers I would imagine hiking the paths along the river would be a hightlight. Given the time of year and amount of rain I would guess it’s probably flooded. The north side of the park at the confluence has a lot of flat grassland. On the south there is a large relatively flat shore. During the summer this beach is a great place to relax and play in the water, however the shallow area aburtly ends into the very deep channel. If you are up for a short trek there are some fun areas to hike. Lake Natoma just below Lake Folsom has some great bike paths with walking trails which diverge and converage back into it. It’s the opposite side of teh trail which follows the American River pass Sacramenot State.
Going up the I80 there is Hidden Falls. The hike begins with a decent from the parking area into a hilly area. The trails have intermitten shade, from medium shade through full sunlight. I would recommend hiking this trail in the Spring or Winter as it’s very hot in the Summer. I’ve never hiked the area after it rains. Given the terrian I would venture a guess it drains fairly well. I would expect the ground to be damp though probably not muddy. Once you decend to the creek’s level you remain at a relatively stable elevation. That being said the trails are bumpy, going up and down a lot. The primary trail terminates at a patio area overlooking the falls on the opposite side of the canyon. If you look around there are plently of trails to take you to the joining of another creek in the area. I would recommend a primary break there. The major caveat with this hike is the trek back. It’s mostly uphill and you should be careful to manage the groups energy. The whole hike is probably on the mangitude over about 4 miles.
Looking towards the sunset
I recently visited Lagoon Valley near Vacaville with my fiance and a friend to checkout the archery range. I wouldn’t recommend the archery range unless you happen to be there anyway. Turns out the regional park looks pretty cool. There are a lot of walkable trails and includes a Frisbee Golf course. Targeting tigers I woudl checkout their Eagle Trail, going around the lake there. We saw a lot of wildlife such as hawks, a few lizzards, etc. The park is heavily trafficed and looks well maintained.
Going more for the natural side there is the Stebbons Cold Canyon UCD Preserve. Parking is near the base of Montecello Dam (Lake Barryisa). In the past we parked in a large cutoff, crossed the u-bend in the road, with the trail head right there. After the Ragg Fire a few years ago they changed the enterance to go through the culvert below the u-bend which would be flooded in the case of rain. If you can find an alternative trail head this is a great hike. You have two choices. You may hike the canyon along the stream or you can ascend the mountain.
Near the far end of the canyon is the foundation of an old homestead. At the fork if you choose the level path you will find yourself at the foudnation of cold storage. It’s half buried in the ground. We usually use this place as a snack location. Continuing on the other path is gureling as you make a large ascent out of the trees and ontop of the ridge. Heading back towards the water stopper on the ridge trail you’ll ascend several peaks, including some false peaks. Once you get to the last moutain peek there is a long winding trail down the moutain which has a decent grade. I’ve seen tigers and wolves hike the ascent of the mountain first and they do well if given enough time to rest before heading back down. Of course at this age sometimes their parents carry them back. Perhaps Tigers is too young after all.
Farther out there is Boeth-Napa Valley State Park. We’ve hiked several trails out there and it was rather nice. The primary trail, which looks large enough for a firetruck, follows the floor of the canyon and is mostly shady. If you choose the offshoot trails they can qucikly become steep. The area is heavily forrested and we’ve seen tons of wildlife. It’s got that Napa Valley costal inlands feel. You can find all sorts of bugs, birds, and lizards.
Last but not least is the Marin Headlands. Although you could hike the entire place in one go even my Weblos 2s decided to break up their 5 mile adventure into a series of sorter hikes. Because of the nature of paths it’s a choose your challenges adventure. This could range from a steep ascent to a relatively flat path. Of course this hike is all the out on the coast and you could also consider hiking the Marin Catracts.
Looking for more
Overall I would like to find more hiking locations in the area. At University of Scouting in January there was a borchure containing a number of camping locations so I might check in there for more ideas.