Duchess Mine Trail

MODERATE 39 reviews

Duchess Mine Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Vallecito, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1164 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

hiking

mountain biking

views

wild flowers

This is a loop trail with views of New Melones Reservoir and the surrounding area. The trail takes hikers past the remnants of the Duchess Mine, which operated during the gold rush era. It also takes hikers up onto a portion of Table Mountain, which is a 10 million year old lava flow that exhibits inverted topography - the lava formed in the paleochannel of the Stanislaus River, which is now the high spot on the landscape.

hiking
2 days ago

Great trail but definitely not for beginners or someone who doesn't want to get winded. I'd recommend taking the right side of the loop, it takes you around the right side of the mountain and up to the top. The left side of the loop is VERY steep. The view at the top is beautiful! There are multiple spots to see over the edge and get a great view. Sections of the trail are set up for mountain biking which thought was pretty cool. I'd recommend bringing lots of water and lunch and hang out for awhile. There's a surprise at the top too..

hiking
8 days ago

The map shown in this overview takes you through a very poorly maintained and overgrown route. A much nicer route exists as a left hand turnout as you hike the more gradual route along the river. Look for the big bike jump (has a wood frame and a picture tacked to it) and hike up toward that and then up toward the top. Another confusion section exists as you get close to the top. There is a big boulder with a climb to the top or you can go straight which takes you to the overgrown trail. It is tempting to go straight instead of up because Cal Fire cleared some of the brush for the first 1/4 mile but don't take the bait unless you want to be covered in stickers.

14 days ago

This was a great hike however it took me a while to find the TRAILHEAD. Note: for anyone else who is looking for it, from the parking lot travel north and it’s on the right side of the road. Another couple also asked me if I knew where it was so I know I wasn’t the only one confused. Otherwise it has great views.
Another word to people who hike here often, BRING POOP BAGS FOR YOUR DOGS PLEASE! There was entirely too much dog poop on the trail. :/

hiking
19 days ago

did this in March 17. beautiful trail and views, go clockwise onto the trail unless you love almost verticle climbs. we went down the steepest (and I do mean steep) area as the last stretch this way. Lovely meadow at the top....take your hammock and spend a bit of time up there. there are a few trees suitable you hammocks.

2 months ago

Beautiful views, but there's a lot of ducking under overgrown shrubbery. Pretty challenging

2 months ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

4 months ago

ended in an off trail but found my way back great workout if that what your looking for

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

Gorgeous trail... Take the gradual section first (the right-hand trail along the lake) The climb is less of a killer than going up the 1,000ft. per mile. Take THAT one down. But if you exercising or preparing for Whitney do the reverse. Either way the meadow and fire jumper training spot at the top of the ridge is a relaxing place for lunch.

6 months ago

Nice

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike. Went in mid spring and had plenty of wildflowers blooming. Trail was a bit over grown once you get to the top section, but still visible. Would definitely do again.

hiking
6 months ago

Who pooped on the trail?

6 months ago

6 months ago

6 months ago

6 months ago

What a 'hidden-gem'! A moderate climb above the lake then attaining the beautiful grassy meadow of the Plateau. We took the easy route up, with the lake on our right. Helicopter landing and takeoff training was going on when we were there but didn't pose any problems...an added thill. The route down is steep, but has the most spectacular views of the highway, bridge and lake and ridges beyond. Entire trip can be done in reverse or one way up and down as you prefer.