Explore Wildlife Viewing - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

These are the trails where we saw the most wildlife/birds

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Used to run this trail several times a week. lt’s not the most beautiful trail in the Bay Area but the views are nice in the late afternoon. The worst part is that you’re running by the sewage treatment plant on the southern end and on certain days, it’s borderline unbearable. This can be avoided by running toward the north and eastern sides and avoiding the southern end near the treatment plant. Lots of bikers can be annoying if you run along the western edge during busy periods

Cool hike- hard to follow if you don’t have your map out (download it first). Also be ready for cows. My dog and I triggered a little stampede when we got out of the car and scared the crap out of some people further down the trail...so just be mindful/aware and careful!

There are a lot of smaller trails that branch off of the main trail. The old mission is an added bonus. It's a state park and is restored to give you an idea of what it once was like.

Great hike to take the dog and family on. Would be nice to hike the entire loop one day.

backpacking
19 days ago

We just returned from hiking the entire loop around the lake. My first piece of advice would be to check the lake level before you go. 791’ is “normal” and according to a frequent hiker will be mostly dry on trail with a few stream crossings to get your feet wet. We went when the lake was at 799.85’, and it was certainly NOT dry! Ha ha! Still mostly do-able, but certainly more adventurous! (see full description below) Secondly, be SURE to take All Trails with you! There are many intersections without signage. All Trails saved us a lot of heart ache!! I would give the trail 5 stars, (the actual hiking was great!!) but I took off a star for the lack of accurate information, and flat out misinformation provided by some of the park attendants around the lake. They obviously do not hike the trail! For example: do NOT park at Overlook park – even if someone tells you it’s o.k. It isn’t, and you may be towed. Instead, park at Cedar Breaks (It’s free for hikers). But DO stop at the Overlook office and pick up a Topo map. – It’s much better than the Corps of Engineers’ map that you can find online. Also, the mileage is a little off on maps as well as on trail. The map says it’s a 28 mile loop, but there are only 25 mile markers (mm). Our devices clocked us as 28.5 miles, but we had to do some work-arounds to stay dry in a few places. Overall great trail! We saw plenty of deer as well as tracks of other wildlife. The views of the lake were just gorgeous, and well worth the hassle. Trail description:
From Cedar Breaks, the trail is rocky with some fairly steep ups and downs. It’s slick in the rain, but do-able. I would not take a dog on this section without some sort of protection for their paws.
We missed the turn off for Cedar Hollow camp (no sign - just a bare stone column). So we went on to Sawyer Hollow camp. It was fine for hammocks, but ‘meh’ for tents. The designated tent site was rocky and sloped. There are NO toilets there (not that you’d use anyway – see photos). Shortly after Cedar Hollow – between mm 7 and mm 8, we came to water we couldn’t hike around. It was obviously from flooding because there were fire ant colonies floating in it. It was 4 ft. deep (chest-high). Again, the lake level was 799’.
From mm 7 to mm 16, the hiking is easy – through grasslands and much of it on an old dirt / grass road. We ate lunch at Tejas Park. They have chemical toilets and a water fountain as well as picnic tables and trash cans. The bridge was covered in 4ft of fast-flowing water. We were uneasy with the speed of the water, so we chose to not wade through it. The next bridge across would’ve added 10 miles to our hike according to the park host (I have not verified that distance.). We didn’t have that much time, because we wanted to make it to Walnut Springs before dark. So we called Uber(!) to take us just to the other side of the bridge. The cost was $15 plus tip. Approaching Walnut Springs, the grass road we’d been walking was underwater for 150 yards or so. We couldn’t tell the depth or the current in the middle, so we looked for an alternate. There is one on the map, but it is inaccurately marked on the trail. There is a stone column there with some old trailhead names. Coming from the west, turn left and follow the path north and then east to a stream crossing. The path will take you back to the road on the other side of the water. Because of the high lake level / flooding, the stream was 4ft. deep for us. We chose not to try it right before dark (we’d wasted a lot of time on a long lunch, waiting for Uber, and locating the work-around). We were afraid of hypothermia – since the water was super cold and temperatures in the low 50’s, and no chance of a fire that night due to everything being wet. So we stealth camped on the west side (not allowed!). In the morning, we waded through and passed Walnut Springs Camp. There are no toilets. (Well, there are some before the water that look exactly like the ones at Sawyer Hollow – i.e. they’ve been through a hurricane or two.) Walnut Springs Camp looked like a nice spot. There were trees for hammocks. We didn’t sleep there, so I can’t tell you about the tent sites. From mm 16 to Jim Hogg, you get back into some rocky terrain with ups and downs. The ups and downs don’t seem as steep as those near Cedar Breaks, and the rocks are easier too. Jim Hogg is just after mm 21, NOT mm 20 like it says on the online map!!! That last mile is tough when you’re expecting a lunch break! I can’t recommend Hogg as a lunch stop – there are no toilets and no picnic tables. We did get water from a hose behind the check-in building. From Hogg to Overlook is a pretty easy 3 miles. We crossed a few easy streams, and found a work-around for a longer water crossing.
Overlook has State Park style restrooms. From Overlook to Cedar Breaks the "trail" is mostly concrete. Turn right to go over the Dam. Do not cross the road.

Gorgeous and peaceful, trail is hard to follow but also hard to get lost in. More of a walking trail than a hike.

love this trail

Absolutely the most scenic drive in all of America. You must drive it both directions ... then hike the trails.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was not what I expected. You will cross the backtop going up and over the dam. I used this app’s map to guide me on this hike. I got confused a few times since my directional since is not the best. You will have a few areas where you may feel like giving up, and the mileage on this trail is what you make of it. I ended up hiking 28.43 miles total over 12h 35m 33s time period. This is something I would have never ever done on my own accord. I this was something I felt led to do. All I can say is be prepared for this walk. I had 2 gallons of water in my pack that lasted me the entire walk. My post below was after my walk to my social media platforms. This was an experience I will never forget or ever do again

The views are great, and there are lots of places to venture down to the tide pools. If you park at Bean Hollow and walk north toward Pebble Beach, the path has signifcant amounts of poison oak that are hard to avoid in several places where the path is narrow. It doesn’t seem to be particularly well-kept so go prepared to deal with the vegetation.

hiking
2 months ago

Beware Canadian Geese

hiking
3 months ago

By far it was a beautiful view. I was amazed every corner I turned. The waterfall was beautiful. I went during rainy season so I saw multiples falls. The cave, WOW!!! You have to be there to know what I felt. We took the bear gulch trail!!!! Very nice..

Beautiful trail to watch the sunset.

Easy trail, overgrown in parts. Follow the old cattle trails. Be prepared with proper footwear.

hiking
3 months ago

Good trail, make sure to take plenty of water. There’s a long stretch, about 4 miles or so along the north side without any shade so plan to get as much done in the morning as possible and take a siesta. Don’t wait too long, though, because the trails near the dam are difficult to navigate in the dark when your phone dies because you left it sitting in the sun (oops). Signage is also off from my gps in varied amounts. I think only one mile marker was accurate. All in all a good challenging hike, beautiful views and varied terrain!

Always take enough water or a filtering system. No potable water on the south side. Cell phone coverage if you get into trouble. Tough mountain biking. Fastest of the fast about 3 hours. Mortals 4-5.

Great park & walk this morning.

backpacking
4 months ago

nice weekend backpacking trial. plan on carrying some water and a filter. you will only be able to get to the lake in a few spots without a fight. trial was in good condition. this is not for someone looking for a remote trial. glad I did it, now on to the next.

4 months ago

Just hiked the trail. I am not impressed by trail conditions. Most parts of trail are not well maintained, sign is not cleared. Will not recommend to hike at summer day. At least half trail has no shade. If you do, do carry lots of water.

hiking
5 months ago

Hot! in the afternoon. Somewhat crowded.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful and rocky trail with great views of the lake!

Beautiful views and interesting caves!

hiking
6 months ago

This one was fun to walk with my kids, my sister and her kids and my parents. We love being out in the local area and finding new (to us) places to enjoy the Columbia Basin(:

Awesome moderated hike of 12.5 miles, gain 2,073 ft elevation. Started at Chaparral trail head, from Juniper Canyon trail, High Peaks trail, Rim trail, Bear Cave Gulch trail, Bench trail, Old Pinnacles trail, and lastly Balconies Cave trail. Brought 6 bottles of water and good enough for 2 of us. Lot of wild flowers, cool reservoir and dark caves, interesting in a way, bring headlamps or use mobile flash light to navigate in dark caves.

backpacking
7 months ago

Love this trail but I hate the dam crossing. I’ve hiked it 2.5 times now...storm came up on one trip and didn’t let up...and on the last trip i dropped down behind the dam to cross. The trail is in good condition. Map is available as pdf if you search for Good Water Loop Trail.

Really fun! I solo hiked this and started right when the gates opened (7:30am). Pack layers and lots of water. Finished in under 4 hours.

Other than the trail being a bit challenging due to all the sand. It's a quiet, beautiful and peaceful hike.

backpacking
8 months ago

Great 2 day hike. Start off at Cedar Breaks and hike about 15mi to Walnut Creek primitive camp site. There are a lot of good spots to pitch your tent and you can head down to a small beach to cool off in the water! After that it’s about 11 more miles around the lake. Really enjoy this spot, decent views, good people, a diamond in the rough if you’re looking to get some good mileage in.

backpacking
8 months ago

Awesome place to hike and camp along the way! We went with a hammock and had a blast!

mountain biking
8 months ago

cheesegrater!

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