Open now: 7 mile loop trail overlooking Pardee Reservoir

We appreciate all you do, EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District)!

John Bull Trail is now open in MCCT’s Camanche-Pardee segment near Valley Springs in the Sierra Foothills. EBMUD’s announcement:

In our continuing efforts to support our trail users, we added a new loop trail located one and a half miles east of the Campo Seco Staging Area. This new segment of trail branches off the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail (MCCT) to the northwest at Lawry Flat, winding through beautiful rolling hills above Pardee Reservoir. Pardee View vista point (open now) and the spur trail to the top of John Bull Peak (elevation 1053 feet) which will open later this year, offer spectacular vistas of the surrounding watershed landscape.

John Bull opening flyer
Click to open PDF

Visit our Camanche-Pardee segment for trail permits, maps, weather tips and safety guidelines. Share photos and comments here or on our FB page.

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Caution: It’s still a bit treacherous out there for high country hikers

Spring Safety Tips. Yes, spring safety tips.

It is not a typical July in California’s Sierra Nevada. The snow pack is so dense that it’s like early May out there, but with July temperatures.

There’s a lot of snow out there. There’s so much snow that it’s still blocking access to some mid to high-elevation trailheads. And in the recent heat we’ve had, it’s melting fast. The snow will melt more readily on a south-facing slope, but then you turn around a little corner and the trail is gone. … And when you get to the snow, it gets deep really quickly,

The hazards are many. They’re out there every spring, but the hikers aren’t, at least not in great numbers. But with July and summer temps upon us, people want to get out and explore. This year, they’re finding downed trees, snow obscuring trails, slippery snowfields to cross, and very, very swollen rivers and creeks. Some streams are running so high that they cannot be crossed safely, and hikers need to be ready to turn around and call it a day if they encounter such conditions. Streamflows can increase as the day heats up, too.

Throughout the mountains, a particular danger is posed by “snow bridges,” where snow that typically might have melted by now covers a stream running underneath, making it “invisible” and capable of easily dropping you 10 to 15 feet into an icy torrent.

Hikers are advised to have good “route-finding skills” and to check updated trail conditions before starting out. They also should carry maps, compass and/or good GPS equipment, and know how to use it. Cellphones can be invaluable in an emergency, but hikers should not expect cellphone coverage in remote mountain areas.

As of July 4th Stanislaus National Forest Ranger Station in Hathaway Pines is not reporting closed trails, opting instead to put out appropriate advisories about the abundant snow on trails in the high country and relying on hikers themselves to take necessary precautions and preparations.

Cell phone service is spotty in the mountains, and that it can take several hours for Search and Rescue to arrive if called. You have got to be prepared to deal with an accident or injury without help for a lot longer than you think.

This is where we plead with you to remain alert. Please, please read our safety tips, even if you are an experienced hiker. Refresh your memory. Forward them to your hiker friends. Always carry the Ten Essentials. Brush up on your wilderness first aid skills.

Be over-prepared this year. Hike extra smart this year.