Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

Leave No Trace!

Visit desovw.org for more information about Desolation Wilderness. Visit Recreation.gov or call 1- 877-444-6777 to make park reservations. Visit Campfire Permits to get a permit online. More about Leave No Trace principles.

June 03, 2013

Coloma's Dutch Creek in June 2013

Coloma is sizzling hot!

Poison oak abounds!
Kayakers are in season! 
 Coloma has a variety of activities besides the approximately 3+ mile hike described below.  It offers picnic areas, historical mining structures including the old jail, a museum, a country store, a small coffee shop, old time photos, living history days, and the river.  This is a great place for family picnics.
 
To get to the trail along Dutch Creek, walk from the parking toward this historic
Sutter Mill, along the street side.  Cross the one lane bridge and turn right on Bayne Street.
 
Poppies are still in bloom,
and adorn the vineyard hillside along the roadway.

 
 This is the gate to the trail.  As you walk up Bayne it could easily be missed.  The tree sort of blocks it and this view is looking straight at it after passing the tree.  It is legal to climb over or through the gate to hike here, and it is publicly owned property.  The trail is not very suitable for bicycles, only hikers.
 
After you cross through the green forestry gate, Mount Murphy is your focal point. You will be hiking at the base of it along the south side.  Thistles abound and the grasses are dry.  I wore gaiters to keep them out of my shoes and socks.
These beauties are called gum plants and the blooms open into large yellow flowers.  I found them scattered along the trail before I reached the shade.
When you enter the woody area, the trail is pleasantly cooler. 
At this point I found a nice cutoff marked by boulders that leads you to the creek.  I was so hot I had no choice to but to take it down.  It is a little rough, so be aware that there is some erosion and a short steep section.


This tiny waterfall makes an enticing rushing sound you can hear up on the trail.  Here is a pond deep enough to immerse yourself in but be careful.  The rocks are super slippery.  I opted to climb over to the falls and just soak my head and shirt!  What a relief!
 
Although things are dry, these Purdy's Brodiaea bloom April through June are still brighten the path.
 
This has a nice deep spot and plenty of shade.  It is a great picnic spot, and you can take another dip in this small pool.
Unless, of course, swimming with fish bothers you!  Plenty of these were swimming around and uninhibited by my presence!  Again, make your way back up to the trail and head east, upstream.  To this point the trail has been in overall good condition.

This waterfall was my biggest reward on this hike.  The trail is eroded and hiking
solo seemed too risky for me to continue to Dutch Creek Falls and
Johntown Falls.  This is a pretty area, less suitable for a dip.  There is
heavy moss growing in the water.  Downstream just a bit is a gravel bar,
 nice normally for hanging out, but pretty uninviting at this time. 

The creek is pretty downstream beyond the gravel bar.  From this stop I turned back, hoping to return and hike above the trail on a cooler day to see the biggest waterfalls.

On my way back, I watched the kayakers from the bridge before calling it a day.

 Driving Directions:
  • Go to Coloma on CA 49 between I-80 and Highway 50; pay $8.00 for parking at the parking lot kiosk in the second state parking provided on the river side of the highway.  Bathrooms are provided and roomy for changing clothes.
  • Walk south from the parking, then over the one lane bridge. (You can't miss it as the town is VERY small.) 
  • Turn right on Bayne and follow the paved road to the locked green gate on the left across from the house downhill by the river. It is also identifiable by small signs like rattlesnake warnings, says "State Park", and is a regular locked forestry green gate you climb over or through. If you get to a fork n the road, you went too far.
  • The trail is single file, but visible despite the weeds.
It leads through the grassy meadow, into the trees, and then has some steep ups and downs, but they are short. There is some brush, a couple of tree falls you have to climb over, under, or around.  The trail is hard dry soil mostly, some seems to have been loosened for better footing going down to the creek.   Hiking pole(s) are handy balancing tools. If I can give any advice, it is wear GOOD hiking shoes. Watch out for the abundant poison oak, visible all along the way.  Follow the trail! Have an adventurous and happy day!  Take plenty of water!
Latitude: 38-47'57'' N

Longitude: 120-52'54'' W
Thank you for checking in! There is another review of this hike on this blog dated April of 2010, and has some other information, and beautiful photos showing the seasonal differences you can come across.

For more hikes see Trails By Locations
June 1, 2013