Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Hiking season begins at Deer Creek Hills Preserve

Sacramento Valley Conservancy opens trails on Saturdays

It likely won't be this sunny this weekend, but the trails are expected to be open Saturday for hikes at Deer Creek Hills Preserve.

It likely won't be this sunny this weekend, but the trails are expected to be open Saturday for hikes at Deer Creek Hills Preserve.

Photo courtesy Sacramento Valley Conservancy

February brings the return of hiking season to the Deer Creek Hills Preserve, one of Sacramento County's natural gems, managed by the Sacramento Valley Conservancy.

Deer Creek Hills Preserve is located off Latrobe Road in the Sloughhouse region of Sacramento County, north of Rancho Murieta. It’s a working cattle ranch that covers 4,500 acres of blue oak woodlands, seasonal creeks and grasslands. The preserve is open to the public on a very limited basis, so the hikes are one way residents can see and enjoy the county's oak woodlands in their natural state.

The self-guided hikes may be taken between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays, starting Feb. 4, through May, then resuming in October-November. Interested hikers must pre-register by 6 p.m. Friday and fill out a liability waiver before arriving. Admission is capped, but more than 70 tickets were still available for this Saturday as of Thursday morning.

SVC requests a $10 donation per hiker. (A season pass is available for $75.) Parking at the trailhead is free. Vehicles must cross Crevis Creek, so 4-wheel drive and other high-clearance vehicles are recommended during wet weather. Or park alongside Latrobe Road and walk the mile to the trailhead.

The preserve has three trail options:

  • North Pond Loop — approximately 3 miles, mostly shaded. Can be started no later than 11:30am
  • Two Ponds Loop — 4.5 miles, mostly in open skies. Can be started no later than 11:00am
  • Barn Pond Loop — 6 miles, mixture of open skies and shaded woodland. Can be started no later than 10am.

Hikers should be hydrated and bring their own water; no running water is available at the site. Portable toilets are available at the trailhead. Wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate gear, and bring a cellphone. No dogs are allowed, and the SVC requests no picking of foliage, seed-gathering or other activities that would disturb the natural habitat.  Snacks are allowed but no picnicking off the trails. Other conditions and limitations are listed on the hike registration site.

Through the year SVC also hosts events such as equestrian rides, Gold Rush history events and the Environmental Speaker Series. The series includes a talk on vernal pools by ecologist Carol Witham, scheduled 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at Camp Pollock, 1501 Northgate Blvd., Sacramento. Registration and other information on the speaker series is here.

All events are subject to weather conditions, the conservancy notes: “Projected rain, high creek levels, extremely muddy conditions, excessive heat or unsafe air quality may cancel the outing. We will do our best to notify registered guests the evening prior via email. Please check our online calendar for cancellation postings before you travel to the preserve.”

A calendar of events is available here:

– Kathy Morrison


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Local News

Ad for California Local

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

Contact Us

Send us a gardening question, a post suggestion or information about an upcoming event.