Red Hills Loop

Oakdale, California

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2 Reviews
4 out of 5
Despite their hard-bitten reputation, the Red Hills show their hospitable side to hikers willing to overlook their superficial scruffiness, and to learn how both their history and vegetation have evolved into something truly special. Covered in chaparral, the Red Hills stand in stark contrast to the lush ranchlands that surround them. From a distance, they look to be upholstered in threadbare corduroy. The hills are composed of serpentine, the California state mineral, a rock (and soil) that is toxic to most plants, save for a few specially evolved species. Because of its inhospitable soil, the Red Hills have always been considered marginal land. To the Miwok, they were desolate of the oaks and game that supplied their food. Gold miners found but paltry pickings here, leaving behind disgruntled names like Sixbit Gulch, Hungry Hill, and Poor Mans Gulch.

Red Hills Loop Professional Review and Guide

"Despite their hard-bitten reputation, the Red Hills show their hospitable side to hikers willing to overlook their superficial scruffiness, and to learn how both their history and vegetation have evolved into something truly special. Covered in chaparral, the Red Hills stand in stark contrast to the lush ranchlands that surround them. From a distance, they look to be upholstered in threadbare corduroy. The hills are composed of serpentine, the California state mineral, a rock (and soil) that is toxic to most plants, save for a few specially evolved species. Because of its inhospitable soil, the Red Hills have always been considered marginal land. To the Miwok, they were desolate of the oaks and game that supplied their food. Gold miners found but paltry pickings here, leaving behind disgruntled names like Sixbit Gulch, Hungry Hill, and Poor Mans Gulch."

Activity Type: Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Oakdale
Distance: 8.2
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours.
Season: Autumn and spring are excellent, especially during the March and April wildflower bloom. Bird-watchers prefer winter, when bald eagles come to hunt and roost near Don Pedro Reservoir. Summer can be scorching.
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: BLM Folsom Field Office
Local Maps: USGS Chinese Camp.

Red Hills Loop Reviews

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5/9/2010
Very close from my hometown of Oakdale and easy to find. No joke about confusion with crossing trails and forks. It was mostly just on the Old Stagecoach road trail. When I wasn't sure, I just followed the trail that had the horse shoe prints and human foot prints and I made it out ok. There were two very confusing forks in the trail but someone was nice enough to have used rocks to form an arrow that points you in the right direction. There are very nice views of the foothills and Don Pedro Reservoir. It's a great scenic trail and I plan on making a few more trips up there before the weather gets too hot.
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4/9/2010
This is a fabulous hike for spring. The wildflowers were amazing. Make sure to bring a lot of water, sunscreen, and a hat if it's warm. There's not really any shade. There is another small parking area a bit northeast on Red Hills Road. I initially parked there and was hugely confused because there was no trail head on the south side of the street. The actual staging area is very obvious, just further down the road.
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Jun 2018