Rancho Seco Howard Ranch Trail Vernal Pools and Wildflower Hike (~7 miles)

Re-scheduled from 3/31.

Note: The Cosumnes River Preserve volunteers will also be doing a guided walk on 4/7 @ 9am.  You can have an option to follow along with them and learn lots of information.  Or stick with our group, and learn some less information from me.  

This will be a leisurely 7 mile hike.  We will stop and smell the flowers and peer into the vernal pools in hopes of seeing signs of aquatic life.  We will take a lunch break a little more than half way around the trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ETA at the trailhead: 9:00am

Description provided from the Cosumnes website listed below:

The 7-mile Rancho Seco Howard Ranch Trail is a hiker’s paradise!  The trail begins by winding around the north end of Rancho Seco Lake along willow scrub and riparian marsh habitat.  As the trail leaves the water's edge, it travels up onto a flat terrace supporting a mosaic of vernal pools and grassland habitat.  This terrace also offers dramatic views of extensive blue oak woodlands in the foothills and the far-off peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

When filled with water, vernal pools are crucial to the short life cycle of federally listed threatened and endangered species, such as the California tiger salamander, fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp, and Western spadefoot toad.  In the spring, masses of flowering plants carpet the basins of these pools creating a sight not to be missed.

 

How to get there (link with map):

From Sacramento, take Highway 99 south to the Twin CitiesRoad/Highway 104 exit. Go east on Highway 104 for 15 miles to the Rancho Seco Park entrance. After you stop and pay the park fee, watch for the small sign on the right for Howard Ranch Trail and take the first right on the gravel road after passing the two towers.You will begin and end the hike at the North Parking Lot.

 

What to bring?

Water, a snack/lunch, sunscreen and a hat.

Waterproof hiking boots may be a good idea, depending on rain conditions the week before the hike.  There may be muddy or wet sections along the trail.

$$$  - Please pay your carpool driver $4 per hour of drive time.  It's about 50 minutes each way from the carpool location.  So, about $7 roundtrip.

There is a $10 charge per vehicle to get into the Rancho Seco Recreational Area.   It's advisable to pack as many people into your carpool as possible, and split the entrance fee.


What not to bring?

Dogs (some of the trail passes through a working cattle ranch).

 

What time will we be done?

Walks generally take 3 1/2 - 4 hours which includes a stop for a snack/lunch.


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  • Craig V

    Thanks to all that joined us yesterday. It was my first time to lead a hike with the group. You all made it easy for me. :-)

    1 · April 8, 2013

    • Del M.

      You could have fooled us. You looked like a pro! Thanks Craig.

      1 · April 9, 2013

  • Sam O.

    First time hiking with you Craig, great job. Thank you

    1 · April 7, 2013

  • Seton

    Craig was a great guide.

    1 · April 7, 2013

  • Jim R.

    nice relaxing hike

    April 7, 2013

  • John L.

    Very pleasant, easy hike. Very nice to talk to other hikers.

    April 7, 2013

  • gilda

    grat hike, grat group, super star leader

    April 7, 2013

  • Del M.

    A good way to break the focus for the weekend. It is always great to see old friends and meet new ones. Thanks Craig.

    1 · April 7, 2013

  • cornelia

    will meet at trail head

    April 7, 2013

  • Jeanette A

    sick

    April 7, 2013

  • Sam O.

    If anybody wants to car pool with Sam I can drive.

    April 6, 2013

  • Lisa

    Karen & I are carpooling together and will meet the group at the trail head.

    April 6, 2013

  • Lyndsee S.

    Sadly, something came up, and I cannot make it tomorrow. I hope to see you all, on the trail, very soon!

    April 6, 2013

  • gilda

    Interested in carpooling from SunSplash. Can we meet there and share a ride? At What time?

    April 4, 2013

    • Del M.

      J, I too am back. If you come tomorrow, I will make copies of the pics (zipline and rafting), Your incentive :) DM

      April 6, 2013

    • Del M.

      I will also bring my laptop so you can transfer the files. Pls bring a USB 8 gb

      April 6, 2013

  • cherl

    Have my grandson today.

    April 6, 2013

  • Lyndsee S.

    I am very excited to hike will all of you! I am hoping to carpool with someone from 11th and P. Can't wait to stop and smell the flowers!

    April 5, 2013

    • Craig V

      Hi Gilda, last week some were planning to meet at Sunsplash. I'm unsure if they are still planning to do so. Feel free to start a new conversation and ask. I'm sure someone would like to meet in Roseville.

      April 5, 2013

    • gilda

      thank you for recommendation. I will ask.:)

      April 5, 2013

  • gilda

    Hello, is any one meeting at Sun Splash, roseville to carpool? I am interested in going with someone. Thanks,

    April 5, 2013

  • Sue

    The hike sounds amazing. Would love to carpool.

    April 5, 2013

    • gilda

      hi Sue are you interested in meeting at sunsplash? do you want to drive?

      April 5, 2013

  • sharon

    Can't make it this Sunday :(

    April 5, 2013

  • debra s.

    just got a new puppy....

    1 · April 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So great that you rescheduled this! Thanks.

    1 · April 5, 2013

  • Craig V

    For anyone that will be meeting us at the trailhead, be aware that the Cosumnes preserve volunteers will also be gathering to lead a hike at the same time we are expecting to get there. So, if you see a group of people gathering and getting ready to hike, that may be their group. You are free to join them if you wish. The guides give very detailed information about the flowers and vernal pools, and may take longer to do the hike than we may take. They typically will be selling a very nice book "Field guide to the Vernal Pools of Mather Field" for $10, if anyone would like to purchase a copy from them. I already have a copy and will pass it around to anyone that wants to read up on the plant life in the area.

    April 5, 2013

  • Carol

    Shannon and Marcy, Thank you both for the info. I hope to see you on Sunday. Thanks Carol

    April 5, 2013

  • Carol

    does anyone know the elevation gain please

    April 3, 2013

    • Shannon B

      Carol, it's practically nothing in elevation gain, but it is a long seven miles. There is a great turn around point at the loop intersection at about 2.1 miles in that would make a great place to wait or turn around spot. it would make the hike about 4.2 miles.

      April 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Carol, I would recommend checking Alltrails.com or other trail sites, for stats, reviews, maps, and photos of hikes you're interested in doing. According to Alltrails, this hike has a 50ft elevation change, so it's relatively flat.

      April 3, 2013

  • Laura M

    I have a full car - we will meet you at the trailhead

    April 3, 2013

  • meegen

    Sounds really fun. I would love to join the next one. This Sunday just doesn't work.

    April 1, 2013

  • Rick S.

    This date doesn't work for me. Have fun.

    March 31, 2013

  • christine p.

    See you guys on Sunday the 7th.

    March 31, 2013

  • domi

    i'm going anyway. every time i look out the window it just gets better
    i want to check the fishing anyway. i get some monster trout out of the lake. should be there about noon

    March 31, 2013

  • Craig V

    Sorry everyone, I'm canceling the hike for today, due to the weather, and your safety and comfort. I'll re-schedule the hike for next Sunday, and hope the weather is much better.

    March 31, 2013

  • Shannon B

    It looks like the weather folks might be right this time.

    March 31, 2013

  • Ron R

    shucks

    March 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, the rain/storm is not giving me confidence. have fun if you go!

    March 30, 2013

  • Sandy S.

    Next time. Thanks for the heads up Craig.

    March 30, 2013

  • Craig V

    HEAVY rain will cancel this event. I'll update by 6:30am Sunday morning if we are still a go, or need to re-schedule.
    If it's just some showers or light rain, I will still go. You should be prepared for rain by brining a rain poncho/large trash bag or umbrella. :-)

    March 30, 2013

  • Rick S.

    I'll be packing a fold-up umbrella. Can't hurt.

    1 · March 30, 2013

  • domi

    rains over at midnight according to the guys who are half right half the time
    Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. High near 69. Southeast wind 3 to 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms
    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=38.5815719&lon=-121.49439960000001&site=all&smap=1&searchresult=Sacramento%2C%20CA%2C%20USA

    March 30, 2013

  • Mary Y.

    I guess we're not going after all..sigh. Maybe next time. Have fun, guys!!

    March 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sunday morning I'm in a meeting. Saturday would be better for me.

    March 30, 2013

  • David A.

    sorry but client calle mout of town. Everyone have fun!

    March 29, 2013

  • Julie R.

    This will be my first hike with your group. Looking forward to it!

    March 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The news is showing raining all day Sunday, with possible thunder showers. Is this still on?

    March 29, 2013

    • Craig V

      As of today, this is still on. Check back early Sunday morning. Rain will cancel this event. I'll re-schedule it for the following Sunday if so.

      March 29, 2013

  • Daniel P.

    I can take 2 in my car

    March 25, 2013

    • Chris E.

      Okay. Thanks. Should we all meet there at around 8 AM?

      March 27, 2013

    • Daniel P.

      8am is perfect

      March 28, 2013

  • Allen B.

    Recovering from knee discomfort after walking/jogging during an Orienteering Meet. Currently using a soft knee support/brace and talking 2400mg Ibuprofen as prescribed by the doctor....

    March 28, 2013

  • Noelle

    sorry, plans changed. Enjoy!

    March 27, 2013

  • gilda

    Hi Laura, I am interesting in carpooling. I live in Roseville, so please count on I would like to ride with you. Please let me know how much I will owe you. Thank you.

    March 25, 2013

    • Laura M

      Gilda- I don't see any change in my plans, but my +1 may not make it. There is still room for you and at least 1 other person.

      March 27, 2013

    • Laura M

      Gilda - it will take us an hour from here, so lets leave about 7:45. We'll get to the trailhead about 15 minutes early.

      March 27, 2013

  • Chico O

    Wow. This is a lot of people.

    1 · March 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It's a big place, plenty of room :)

      March 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Going out of town for family Eastern, sorry to miss the hike.

    March 27, 2013

  • Mary Y.

    I'm pretty sure at this point that we will drive ourselves from the Pocket area.

    March 25, 2013

  • Laura M

    Carppol from Roseville/Rocklin area anyone? I have 1 person coming with me and room for 2 more.

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry-already had prior plans. Have a gd. hike everyone.

    March 25, 2013

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