Wallace Creek Trail (dayhike)

Trip Date: 4/15/2017

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 33.5 miles to a left turn onto 7 Mile Rd. Travel south just a few tenths of a mile to another left onto Elkhorn Rd. Follow Elkhorn Rd. south for just over 4 miles to a dirt parking area on the left. The Wallace Creek trailhead is at the north corner of the lot near the interpretive sign.

Synopsis: Even out of wildflower season - the event which draws crowds to Carrizo Plain - Wallace Creek is an interesting trail. Save for a couple of quick steep spots, it offers gradual climbing through grassy foothills, eventually providing views of the plain and the lake below to the west. Most intriguing, though, is the fact that you cross the San Andreas Fault, and the park information plaques note features of the creek that demonstrate movement of the two tectonic plates above which you stand.

Trail sequence: Wallace Creek Trail

Type: Out and back

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation: Min. - 2131', Max. - 2531'


Rating: Easy (factors: heat)

Trail Notes: Getting to this trailhead requires travel over dirt roads. They're not particularly rough, and we saw plenty of conventional sedans make the trip, but consider both your car and the weather before you go.

Track: Wallace Creek Trail - Carrizo Plain NM: AllTrails, GaiaGPS

Turn by Turn:

  -- Upon leaving the parking area, and after passing the trailhead information board, proceed directly north for about a third of a mile to another information spot.

  -- After reading the sign, turn to the right (east) and head up the steep rise to a gently ascending single-track the works along the south edge of - and sometimes through - the dry creek bed as it trends at first east then northeast.

  -- A mile and a half or so brings you close to a private land fence on the left. You follow this fence for a short distance before the trail ends at the fence itself.

  -- Head back the way you came.

Photo Gallery: Flickr