*social trail* - Caliente Ridge Rd. (dayhike)

Trip Date: 3/8/2015

Location: Carrizo Plain National Monument

Permit/Pass: None

Trails: BLM brochure

Directions: From Interstate 5 at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley take exit for CA Highway 58 west to Buttonwillow and McKitrick. Follow CA 58 for almost 44 miles to Soda Lake Rd. Turn left (south) on Soda Lake Rd. and head 15.8 miles to the signed right turn for Selby Campground and Caliente Ridge. Travel the dirt road just under four miles to a right turn onto Caliente Ridge Rd. (the road gets rougher from here on, high clearance is necessary, four-wheel drive is handy). Drive 1.8 miles to a small, unsigned turnout on the right with a couple of posts marking a trailhead. There is room for one or two cars here.

Synopsis: There are only few established trails in this park, but there are several informal trails. This is one we found on the way to Caliente Ridge Trail (the established one) and it turned out to be a spectacular wildflower hike during a not particularly great wildflower year. The climb is mild, but the trail is sometimes challenging.

Trail sequence: Social trail (use trail)

Type: Out and back

Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation: Min. -  ', Max. - '

Rating: Easy-Moderate (factors: heat, route-finding)

Trail Notes: We did this as an out and back, but when you reach the ridge there is another use trail that can be taken east to meet Caliente Ridge Rd. in order to turn this hike into a loop. Bring a compass and a good sense of direction in case you lose the trail.

Track: *social trail* (Caliente Ridge Rd.) - Carrizo Plain NM


Turn by Turn:

  -- Slip between the posts and head out along the initially shady trail on the northeast side of a low hill. Soon you circle around and into the open where the often-indistinct trail begins to climb to the southeast up the south side of a gentle canyon.

  -- Follow the contour of the hillside as you climb toward the ridge up ahead. Upon gaining the ridge look for the use trail that follows the ridgeline if you want to turn this hike into a loop. Otherwise, find your way back down along your outward track.

Photo Gallery: Flickr