Annie’s Trail

Annie’s trail is a loop that was added to the existing Cold Canyon trail in 2012. Together, the two trails make for a 7.5 mile hike with about 2500 ft elevation gain – a moderately strenuous hike.

00
Basics: We started the new year off right with a hike along Blue Ridge near Cold Canyon. Annie’s trail is a loop that was added to the existing Cold Canyon trail in 2012. Together, the two trails make for a 7.5 mile, moderately strenuous hike. A highlight of Annie’s Trail is Annie’s Rock – a giant boulder outcropping near the top of the ridge. It’s a great spot for lunch.

The trail is still relatively new – in 2009, Tuleyome and supporters purchased Cold Canyon Headwaters, a 72-acre parcel in the upper watershed above Stebbins Cold Canyon UC Natural Reserve. Tuleyome volunteers built the 2.5 mile loop and named it Annie’s Trail. It is named after late Tuleyome board member Anne Schneider who was instrumental in helping preserve the Cold Canyon Headwaters.

Directions to Trailhead: (Same directions as for the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve hike posted previously.) From the town of Winters, take Hwy 128 West towards Lake Berryessa. Shortly after leaving town, the road will begin to follow Putah Creek. Eventually you will pass through Canyon Creek Resort – a private campground and RV park. Monticello Dam will be on your right. Continue just a little further up the road and pull in to the dirt parking area on the right (after the bridge and before the hairpin turn).

Distance: 7.2 mi | Elevation: +2900 ft / -2900 ft | Download gpx

Trail Description: Being New Year’s Day and all, we didn’t get a particularly early start. We did wake up early to prepare some food and hot beverages for our hike.

Glühwein in the making!
Glühwein in the making!

We reached the trailhead sometime before 11:00 AM and headed up the loop trail in the clockwise direction. We followed signs for the Blue Ridge Trail and the Homestead Trail (all part of the Cold Canyon loop). The trail starts out along the creek. No water there today. It’s been so dry, the grasses on the hills are still golden brown. It looks like crispy dry summer in California.

Photo by Lisa
Photo by Lisa

The canyon was still relatively cold, especially in the shade. We warmed quickly as we started climbing. The stairs going up the ridge are very steep in some places- quite the workout!

03

After just under two miles of climbing, we reached the ridge at the southern end of the Cold Canyon loop trail. From here, the trail continues climbing to the right. We turned left and followed a different trail marked by a small sign with the word Tuleyome on it.

At the junction of the two loops.
At the junction of the two loops.

A short distance later we reached another sign indicating Annie’s Trail. We turned right at the fork in order to hike the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

At the next junction (both forks are part of Annie's Trail).  Photo by Lisa.
At the next junction (both forks are part of Annie’s Trail). Photo by Lisa.

We continued climbing. In a few places the trail was so steep we held on to trees as we ascended. Eventually, we reached the top of another ridge. From here, we caught glimpses of Lake Berryessa and surrounding valleys through the chaparral. After hiking a bit further, I started to wonder if we had passed Annie’s Rock. I knew it was a huge rock, but this was our first time on the trail and I couldn’t remember reading if it was marked with a sign or not. Lucky for us, we soon came upon a marker pointing us towards the rock.

07

We sat, ate lunch and spent a long time taking in the views. Our feast consisted of pesto quinoa, hummus and snap peas, hot glühwein out of the thermos, and vegan brownies for dessert! Yum!

08

Lunch!
Lunch!

10

After leaving Annie’s Rock, we continued counter-clockwise around the loop. The trail turned and headed uphill for a short distance, then steeply descended back towards the junction with the Cold Canyon loop. Once back at the main trail, we turned left and finished the Cold Canyon loop. We climbed the many little peaks along the ridge top, then steadily descended back to the car. This trail was much more crowded than Annie’s Trail, but still quite fun.

10 thoughts on “Annie’s Trail”

  1. Good report, thanks. Finally did this hike last November, wretched trail work, but it gets you there. By this, I haven’t tried Berryessa Peak as I hear people get lost, and I haven’t got any partners or much steam as I used to.

    1. I agree, it could use several more switchbacks. Time will tell how such construction holds up to weather and traffic. But the vegetation (especially PO) was cleared well, for now.

    2. Berryessa Peak is now very “hikeable.” White dowels with burnt red paint mark the trail in sections. The trail needs breaking in, go see the great view and cool landscapes.

  2. I’d suppose as with the rest of the CC Loop trail, they may eventually get around to making improvements. The attorneys may otherwise close Annie’s Trail as a liability hazard, since land managers are now faced with adverse judgments big time when somebody gets hurt or even killed.

  3. So glad to hear about this trail. I have seen the entrance but was never sure where it went …..loop trail or one that just kept going who knows where. Excited to try it next time I go!

  4. I love Annie’s Trail just how it is. It’s biggest charm is that it is less hiked than the Blue Ridge Loop Trail, and too many “improvements” will just make it crowded. If you want to see a bunch of people on an easy trail, take the Loop. Also, as a slightly out of shape 37-year old hiker, I did not find Annie’s Trail too steep or too difficult. My son also had no trouble with it when he hiked it at 10 years old.

    1. Thanks for commenting Carrie. I agree- it’s definitely nice how much less crowded Annie’s Trail is. The Loop is starting to get very congested, especially on weekends. We need more trails in the area! 🙂

Any thoughts?