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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.