Monday, December 21, 2009


Redbud Trail hiking to the Jams Waterfall - Portage for paddleboaters on Cache Creek, Clear Lake to Hwy 16 Run - trip report.

Scouting a difficult portage on this scenic, overnight, wilderness run (Lake County, California, USA).

Hiking the Redbud Trail at Cache Creek Natural Area & California State Wildlife Area.

JimH, OliverH, Royce & I drove up Hwy 16 on a cold, dark, foggy morning. As we passed through the Capay Valley the fog lifted and suddenly we were in the sunshine! By the time we reached the Redbud Trailhead at Hwy 20 and NF Cache Creek it looked like a really great day for hiking. (Redbud Trail map pdf download.) There were some great views of the landscape as we hiked up the trail. When we reached the Cache Creek overlook high up on the valley we first hiked down the spine of a ridge just upstream from The Jams. Then we continued a bit farther down the trail and hiked down & up the spine of a longer, taller ridge that led to the pinnacle of rock that is on river-left towering directly over The Jams rapid. As we sat up on top of the spire and had lunch the clouds came in and the first few drops of rain started to fall.
JimH & OliverH on the Redbud Trail
• Photo gallery - hiking the Redbud Trail and scouting The Jams rapid.

Map of Redbud Trail at Cache Creek Natural Area & California State Wildlife Area.

Instructions for online interactive topographic river maps & road maps.
• Click on Map button for road map, Topo button for topographic map.
Full-Screen River Map - landmarks in the Cache Creek Wildlife Area.
• Names of landmarks displayed below (A, B, etc.) - DoubleClick or point on the red markers.

      N 38.98783 W 122.54047, Redbud Trailhead (A)
      N 38.97009 W 122.52434, The Jams Rapid (B)
      N 38.97726 W 122.51923, Baton Flat (C)

Scouting The Jams waterfall - a mandatory portage without a doubt!!

A main objective for our hike was to scout The Jams, a portage on the Clear Lake to Hwy 16 Run on Cache Creek. Fortunately Oliver & Royce talked us into hiking all the way down to creek level to inspect the downstream side of The Jams waterfall. Wow!! Even with no water flowing in the creek it was easy to see that The Jams would be a deathtrap when the creek was flowing at runnable levels. Any paddleboater who foolishly blundered through the blind left turn to enter the waterfall would find water pouring over car-sized boulders from bank to bank. Steep shorelines provide nowhere for scouting or portaging at creek level. Paddleboaters wishing to run this section of river MUST eddy out above The Jams on river-left and make a very difficult portage over the ridge leading down to the spire overlooking The Jams. This portage will be long and hard, but kayakers should be able to portage here without any special equipment. Although a helicopter for portage would be optimal!!

(I'll add a picture later to show the portage route.)

Hiking & Returning Home.

Then we faced the big decision about whether to hike downstream at creek level or do the very long climb back up the canyon wall to the main trail. Fortunately we found a way downstream on river-left and this unofficial trail got easier and more distinct as we hiked towards Baton Flat. The rain also increased to a pretty steady drizzle. We continued on unofficial trails over The Peninsula and up the meadow back to the trailhead.

Then we had a great dinner at La Casa Betty in Vacaville. The special of the evening was an excellent homemade chili and cornbread. We watched some football on the big screen TV and then I left at closing time and headed home.

The day after I was totally sore from head-to-toe, but I didn't have any painful spots. So it really was a great hike, but I've got to get busy getting into better shape for more hiking & kayaking trips next year.

More about:
California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
Redbud Trail - Wilson Valley to Cache Creek - Putah-Cache Bioregion Project
Cache Creek Wilderness Redbud Trail - Bureau of Land Management
Redbud Trail - Bald Eagle Viewing Opportunities - California Dept Fish & Game
Redbud Trail to Cache Creek - Yolohiker
Cache Creek Natural Area Redbud Trail - Bureau of Land Management
Cache Creek Redbud Trail backpack - songbyrd's Photos.
California Hiking Trails Directory.
Cache Creek Overview - California Whitewater River Paddleboating Guide.
California Whitewater River Guides for Paddleboating - BRT Insights.
Hiking & Camping Trip Reports - BRT Insights.
Olympus Stylus 720SW camera. Photos edited with IrfanView software. Panoramic photos assembled with PanoStitcher software.

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