Hike Date: April 28, 2012
Distance: ~ 11 miles
Trail(s): John Hoffnagle Loop Trail, Rattlesnake Ridge
Where’s it at? Deer Park east of Silverado Trail


Signed up for my second hike on the Napa Land Trust website; a hike called the Wildlake Ranch Loop, newly named (apparently) the John Hoffnagle Loop Trail. This was an 11 mile hike (though my GSP tracker said 15) hike from Poppy Flats in/near Deer Park, CA. The hike had a fair amount of elevation change and some steep ups and downs. I don’t think I’d want to do this one in the summer heat, it was hot enough at 80 degrees fahrenheit. Note that advanced permission or a guided hike registration from the Napa Land Trust is required to hike this trail.

I went with a group of 5 other people and we carpooled from Silverado Trail up through a gate to Poppy Flats. We took the loop in a counter-clockwise direction and several of the hikers I was with that had done it clockwise said they liked this direction best. You almost immediately start out gaining some elevation and will soon see Deer Lake on the right hand side. A little further up and we arrived at Wildlake Ranch (I think it’s “Wild Lake Ranch” but have seen it both ways). This was a small house with picnic facilities that the Napa Land Trust occasionally uses for events. You can actually drive up to the house if needed. If you climb the hill a little further to the north you will see Wild Lake itself. This is a small and shallow lake but fairly scenic.

We continued from there up toward what I believe was Three Peaks. I guess there are two options when you come to a fork: one that takes a longer loop around the base of the peak, and the one that we took which was really pretty steep but cut the distance, to just about the summit proper of Three Peaks. i think the elevation here was about 2750 feet. We stopped and caught our breath at a gorgeous meadowed ridge with great views of Mt. Diablo and Mount Saint Helena. Wildflowers galore up here. I was really glad to be with the group I was with because we had a couple wildflower identification experts as well as a mushroom identifier. The hike leader was great about pointing out the various wildflowers and lizards we saw along the way. There were also tidbits of the history of the land before it became Land Trust property. It used to be a deer park and Wild Lake Ranch was where the hunters stayed and cleaned their kills.

After a short rest we began the fairly flat hike along the eastern side on what is called Rattlesnake Ridge. There is a ton of grassy meadows with serpentine outcrops here with digger pines making up the majority of the tree life. We didn’t see any rattlesnakes which was a little surprising considering it is their mating season right now. Anyway, that’s probably a good thing!

After hiking a ways we stopped for lunch at another spot with a fine view to the east overlooking the Saint Helena vineyards and Mayacama mountain range. Continuing on we came to an almost excessively large and sturdy metal gate that we had to traverse the side of to continue on along Rattlesnake Ridge. Here’s where we started seeing a decent amount of mushrooms along and on the trail. The trail begins to gradually descend for a couple miles.

At the bottom of the canyon we came to a gorgeous creek which made for an easy crossing. No wet shoes although it was a little muddy. I’m not sure the name of the creek. After crossing the creek the terrain on the hillsides becomes very rocky, probably a haven for rattlesnakes. The trail is pretty steep and hot here but at this point you’re about 1 or 1.5 miles from the car. When you see a vineyard at the top you’re almost there.

This was a great hike that was perfect on a nice mid-Spring day!

Created by My Tracks on Android. (I think these stats are not that accurate)
Total distance: 24.52 km (15.2 mi)
Total time: 4:58:38
Moving time: 2:55:16
Average speed: 4.93 km/h (3.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 8.40 km/h (5.2 mi/h)
Max speed: 13.50 km/h (8.4 mi/h)
Min elevation: 393 m (1289 ft)
Max elevation: 834 m (2736 ft)
Elevation gain: 1213 m (3980 ft)
Max grade: 0 %

Chart from John Hoffnagle Trail

Photos from Hiking the John Hoffnagle Trail (click to enlarge)

Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
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http://timsartoris.com/blog/a-hike-on-the-john-hoffnagle-trail-from-poppy-flats/ http://timsartoris.com/blog/a-hike-on-the-john-hoffnagle-trail-from-poppy-flats/ http://timsartoris.com/blog/a-hike-on-the-john-hoffnagle-trail-from-poppy-flats/
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge
Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking the John Hoffnagle Loop from Poppy Flats to Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge

Directions to Poppy Flats / John Hoffnagle Trailhead


View John Hoffnagle Loop Trail in a larger map

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