China Gulch Trail

MODERATE 56 reviews

China Gulch Trail is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ione, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,223 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

running

lake

no dogs

East Bay Muni Utility District Pass must be purchased to hike this trail.

hiking
3 months ago

This really isn’t a hiking trail. More of a long fire road. Dusty & warm temps today with very dry terrain. A solid workout with some lake views. Didn’t come across any snakes or cows. Glad I checked it out but probably not on my favorite list!! Seems like a trail better suited for horses.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the bettwr paths I’ve been on. Clear all the way through and spacious. Watch out for snakes though.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice reasonable hike. Little shade. Few people. Peekaboo views of lake. Worth the trip!

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Beautiful hike! Came here twice in one week. I should have brought a map the first day because i only did the loop and thought that was all the trail had to offer. Boy was i wrong! The loop is only about 3 miles long. When I pulled the map out later I found there was still about 6 or so miles left to explore. I returned on Wednesday, April 24th and did the whole thing in about 4 hours. I saw no one along the way. One thing is for sure, this hike should not be rated easy. I hike often and this adventure made me sore for the rest of the week, at least 3 days. It should be rated at least Moderate in my opinion. Definitely wear a hat as there isn't much shade. Bring more water than you think you will need. I have never seen so many cows on a trail before.

9 months ago

This was a very nice trail, we went March 30 and the weather was perfect! everything was green, lots of birds and cows ... lol. Awesome views of the lake. I defenetly recommend this during spring time since everything is green and not so hot.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful weather for a hike along the rolling hills. Loved the views. Added the loop to an out and back 6 mile hike. This can get muddy after a rain. Lots of horses, cows and birds. You need an Eat Bay MUD pass and these can be purchased at the gate for $10/yr. Portapotty at trailhead. Very clean.

Wed Jan 02 2019

great hike love the views seen a lot of horses and cows but they didn't bother us paid for the whole year for $10 best deal ever

running
Sat Aug 25 2018

Good trail! It was my first time on it, I just hiked around, but I’ll definitely be back to go for a run next time!

hiking
Sun May 27 2018

I lead 5 other hikers on this trail. The entire trail is 9.8 miles out and back, and we hiked 6 miles, so did a good chunk of it. The cow dung is prevalent on the trail, but mostly very dried out so not really a problem. The flies were a bother, but all of that was vastly outweighed by the blue sky, birdsong, cicada chirps, and majestic stands of oak. It’s an easy trail with only a couple of climbs, so good for somewhat fit beginners. We did miss the loop, but that’s ok, on the way back I saw the signs better and now know exactly where the turn off is for next time, and there will be a next time. All in all a solid trail experience.

hiking
Tue Feb 06 2018

We walked the Chinese Gulch Loop . Our app said we did close to 5 miles. It was a fairly easy trail but definitely a trail the grazing cattle use. The view of Lake Camanche is beautiful. The day that we walked was in the upper 60s, a gorgeous winter morning. Would not walk this when the temperatures get higher as I can imagine there may be more snakes than what I would want to deal with. You do need a pass from East Bay Mud to hike as you need to log in, but you can buy the pass at the gate. No dogs are allowed as there are cattle grazing.

Tue Dec 19 2017

The lake at sunset is fantastic. Having standoffs with the cows on the trails is a bonus!

hiking
Tue Dec 19 2017

If you can stand cow patties, that view. That. View.

Sun Mar 12 2017

Great scenery.

hiking
Mon Feb 27 2017

Nice trail, very muddy around the lake view loop, scenic and pretty. We saw people with strollers, horseback and on foot. Will probably walk again. Some hills but my 7 yr old enjoyed it.

Mon Feb 27 2017

Very nice, some steep areas, took my 8 yr old. Very muddy in some places. Did the loop and took use a couple hours, mostly Bc of the mud slowing us down.

Thu Feb 16 2017

Fantastic trail! A little muddy, some horse and cow poop on trail but very scenic!

Tue Dec 20 2016

Dogs are actually not allowed on this trail. Incorrect information on ebmud site as well.

hiking
Tue Mar 08 2016

Pretty sweet

hiking
Mon Aug 03 2015

It's an okay trail. We went 4th of July weekend and it was crazy hot. Luckily, there was a breeze the entire time we were on the trail. It starts to feel like you're never going to reach the end and you'll question whether you missed it somehow, but just keep going. You can't miss the gate at the end. We only ran into one person the entire time on the trail despite the lake being pretty busy. If you want to add on the little loop, make sure to pay attention. We missed the entrance, turned off where you should be meeting back up with the trail, took it almost back to the beginning, and then had to re-do the trail between the start/end of the loop! Added a little bit extra on. Make sure to bring sunscreen and hats!! Very exposed trail. Nice and long with consistent hills, it definitely helped us with some distance training. Recommend you do it on a cooler day, however. We both got overheated towards the end.

hiking
Wed May 06 2015

The scenery is rated a 3 while the hike itself earns a 4. The trail is not nearly as bad as others I have been on, with few steep hills. There were many gradual incline and decline hills throughout the trail. Additionally, there were no dangerous parts to the trek (I.E. No narrow paths, steep cliffs, etc.), making the hike very safe for children. The drought has sadly burned most of the lake dry, making the scenery look more like a desert than a lake. There are few areas with trees, so be prepared to sizzle in the heat. Recommended to bring lots of water and anything to block out the sun. All in all, fun and moderately difficult hike, would love to revisit once the drought passes over.

hiking
Wed Oct 23 2013

A long and hilly trail perfect for an October day. You couldn't pay me to do it in Summer, however. Pros: cleanest porta-potties I've ever seen (at trailhead), incredibly we'll-marked trail, beautiful views of Lake Camanche. Cons: trail (for the majority) is basically a gravel road, very anti-climactic turn-around point, can't get anywhere near the water (not sure why the paranoia ... they let boats out there!) I would recommend it! Will do again with modifications. After the hike, which took 3 hours and 20 minutes, we ate lunch in Ione at Clark's Corner and followed it up with some wine-tasting. Perfect day!!!!!!

hiking
Sun Mar 24 2013

Very nice trail - well marked, wide. A couple of steep grades, but fine for beginners and dogs on leash. Saw turkeys, deer, livestock and lots of woodepeckers. Met some nice people on horseback. There were very few other folks on the trail. Nice views - stopped at about the 4 mile mark for lunch. Recommend in spring of fall when there is some color and it is cooler - summers in the area are hot and which makes for dry and brown landscape. Porta-potties at the trailhead.

running
Sat Feb 02 2013

Very nice trail with great views! I've ran this trail a couple times not very difficult but does have one or two steep grades. Its part of the coast to crest trail which goes to campo seco and Paloma area. Seen a lot of deer. Will run again.

hiking
Fri Aug 31 2012

At the end of the China Gulch Trail where it ends at Lake Camanche, you can view some of the old gold dredge trailings.

nature trips
Wed Apr 04 2012

China Gulch is a nice trail close to Ione on Lake Camanche. The pass is one of the best recreation bargains ever! (It can also be used o the South Shore trail system which includes parts of the Coast to Crest trail.) There is a out and back path. There is also a loop that takes one past the lake that is about 3 miles. Hikers can go down to the lake toward the back of the loop. I like to use the area for training horses and pack animals for more challenging trails. There can be some water and occasional wildlife. I have even seen bald eagles on several occasions.

hiking
1 month ago

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