Hike Date: February 22, 2014
Distance: ~ 4.6 miles
Trail(s): Homestead Trail, Blue Ridge Loop Trail
Where’s it at? Off hwy 128 at the Lake Berryessa Monticello Dam


I’m not 100% sure if this hike qualifies as being in the San Francisco Bay Area but it’s *right* on the border if not. This hike is on the border between Napa and Solano Counties. Stebbins Cold Creek Canyon Reserve is run by UC Davis and used for field trips and education. It is located just beyond (or before if coming from the east) the Monticello Dam at the southeast end of Lake Berryessa.

You can park for free though it was pretty packed when I visited so I’d recommend doing a morning hike if during a weekend with nice weather. There is a donation of $2 requested at the start of the trailhead for the Homestead Trail. Dogs on leash are welcome only on certain parts of the trail so do your research ahead of time if bringing a dog. I only saw one on my hike.

I hiked the Homestead Trail and the Blue Ridge Loop Trail, and chose to do so in a clockwise fashion. I think this is probably the best way to do it, though you could argue either way. Basically if you prefer doing switchbacks up and stairs down, then go counter-clockwise instead. The Homestead Trail was relatively easy but once you get to the first set of stairs be prepared to keep going up fairly steeply for a while. I’d estimate that there were about 200 wooden stairs when all was said and done though that might be way low of an estimate

I’d read that this hike was strenuous but you see that fairly often. This one is though. It is quite steep both up and down and while the distance isn’t great, you will probably feel it by the end. The trail is well built and maintained but once you get to the highest points the trail becomes more of an exercise in bouldering in some spots. If you have mid-height hiking shoes or boots this would be the kind of trail to wear them on. I almost twisted my ankle in a couple spots where my shoes would get wedged between rocks while the rest of my body kept going.

When you get to the top there are plenty of rocky outcrops to relax or have a snack on with great views of Lake Berryessa and some of the taller peaks of Northern Napa Valley and Lake County, including Mount Saint Helena.

All in all this was a great hike. I was shocked by how crowded it was. I think this was the most crowded hike I’ve ever taken in the bay area with probably 40 people at the top when I got there and passing folks every 400 feet in one direction or another.

Photos from Hike at Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve (click to enlarge)

Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa
Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa
http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve
http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve http://timsartoris.com/blog/hike-through-stebbins-cold-canyon-reserve
Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa
Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa
Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa
Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa Hike on the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa

MyTracks Stats:
Distance: 4.55 miles
Total Time: 2:12:16
Calories: 1,192
Elevation Gain: 2,294.29
Min. Elevation: 230.84
Max. Elevation: 1,483.07
Min. Grade: -445%
Max. Grade: 43%

My Tracks Map of hiking Stebbins Cold Canyon


View Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve in a larger map

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