Thomes Gorge Trail [CLOSED] is a 10.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Paskenta, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length10.8 miElevation gain1,975 ftRoute typeOut & back
dog friendlyBackpackingCampingHikingHorseback ridingForestRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeBlowdownOver grownRockyClosedNo shade
Description
Waypoints (1)

As of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. Note: The route on this page has the hiker starting at the trailhead on M4. The trail can also be accessed via the Mud Flat Road, Forest Road 23N35, which cuts roughly 3 miles roundtrip off the hike. This alternate trailhead can be found at: 39.8302002, -122.6470120 A long walk across sunny hillsides, dipping into canyons with creeks. Good for a sunny winter day. Wait a few days after storms for the road to dry out, and for Bowers Creek to go down. There are good campsites at the end of the trail, at Thomes Creek. Although this route is open all year, beware that it gets very hot here. The best time of the year to visit is January - March, while the creeks and rivers are flowing.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (39)
Photos (31)
Recordings (19)
Completed (48)
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Jimmy DePetro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2020
BackpackingNo shadeOver grown

No shade and very hot. Do not recommend in the spring or summer. Trails gets close to 100° in the spring and summer. There is no shade to protect you. A couple of very small creeks along the way. The end is beautiful. Lots of fresh water to cool off in. Camping can get a little crowded on busy weekends.

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Deanna Bjorkquist
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
BackpackingNo shadeOver grown

Philip Welsh's review is spot on, except I thought it was not crowded at all; especially since it was Memorial Day weekend. We only saw about a dozen other people. I assume more popular areas like Tahoe, Big Sur, Yosemite, Trinity, etc were way more crowded. Friendly reminder of COVID-Etiquette: Don't forget to mask up when passing each other on the trail. We did find a few tiny leeches on us when we jumped in the river, but they brush off easily. We did frequent flea/tick checks, but I still found a tick in our tent in the morning. Bring mosquito spray. There is SO MUCH POISON OAK. You really should hike with breathable pants and long sleeve if you're allergic and want to avoid brushing up against it. Sun hat is key. We had to carry our 9lb dog part of the way on the return hike, because the ground was so hot and she still doesn't like her hiking boots. If you have a dog you're not willing to carry: 1.) consider parking at the closer trail head 2.) plan to arrive later and leave earlier when it is a bit cooler. 3.) allocate time for frequent water breaks. It looks like there is a small lake about 4 miles in on Google Maps, but it was dry when we went. Still plenty of water though. We brought 2 liters of water per person, which was fine, because we were able to fill up at a stream mid hike, and at the river at the end where you make camp. We passed a couple who said they saw a black bear cross the trail in front of them. Just a reminder to always bring a bear bag or canister, and to follow the Bear-Muda Triangle. Bear bag is always useful for keeping the critters out.

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Philip Welsh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
BackpackingBlowdownNo shadeOver grown

Went on an overnight backpacking trip here Saturday night of MDW. Had a great time. This is a perfect trail in terms of distance, difficulty, reward at the end, and access to water. It's also an easy 3 hour drive drive from San Francisco. We started at the trailhead marked on the map, so the further one. There is a decent sized dirt parking area here. There are no water or bathrooms at either trailhead, so I'd suggest bringing a big water jug and having it in your car. From here, the trail is pretty easy. When we went it was super hot, and there was no shade. It just weaves along hills, occasionally dipping down to streams. There was water at both streams on MDW. You pass one between the 2 trailheads, and then there is one about halfway between the closer trailhead and Thomes Gorge. There are great views the whole way. It might not be exactly what you imagine when you think Mendocino. The area is very dry and deserty. Eventually you'll drop about 900 feet into the gorge. It's a really beautiful setting. There is a river, pools to swim in, camping areas, and a huge rock wall right next to the river. The camping is primitive, so just find an area and put down your stuff. We didn't even bring a tent, the weather was good enough to just cowboy camp. By the time we got to the camping area, it was pretty full. The camping on the southside (the way you came from) was all taken, so we had to cross the river to get to the camping on the northside. So the river isn't super hard to cross, but it does get deep in some areas. I would strongly recommend some Crocs or other rubber shoes. The crossing was difficult because you really don't want to stumble and get all your gear wet. We probably didn't cross at the best spot, because we had a pretty hard time with it. The next morning coming out was way easier, because we picked an easier spot. You'll need a campfire permit to have a fire. We went swimming and hung out by the river for a while. There are no towns around so the stars were incredible. The next day we got up, crossed the river again, and made our way out of the gorge. It's a long hot climb, but it was nice to get it out of the way first. Then we just hiked back to the car. Beware, dogs are allowed, but our group brought a dog and he had a very hard time. It was very hot with no shade, so he was certainly too hot. He made it out and everything was fine, but just something to keep in mind. The trail wasn't maintained very well. There were several trees down along the trail, one of which made the trail seem like it ended. Also the vegetation along the trail was overgrown. I would recommend long pants if it isn't too hot, because it scratched my legs. Btw, congrats to the couple who got engaged by the gorge Saturday night! You asked me to take a picture of you two after you hiked out. Overall, it was a great trip, and I would definitely recommend it.

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Alex Halbritter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 22, 2020
Hiking

The alternate trail start (that cuts off about 3 miles of the hike) is a little bit further than the coordinates given in the Description. Try entering these coordinates and direct yourself there! (39.829980, -122.654335)

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Alex Kuhn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2020
HikingOver grown

Poison Oak is Prevent but can be avoided. Long pants and a good sun hat recommended.

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Sunny Olson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2020
HikingOver grown

Beautiful hike! However, the trail does need some maintenance. I would recommend wearing pants so the bushes don’t scratch your legs too much.

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Becca Lohse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 16, 2020
No shadeOver grown

went on 04-14-2020. amazing views at the end of trail with access to willow creek. wildflowers were in bloom. there are a few camp sites and swimming holes at the end with some amazing views of the gorge. The trail is a a bit overgrown but is still easy to follow. there is poison oak growing into the trail. there is limited area for parking but not many people out there when we went.

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Estevan Salazar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 28, 2019
HikingNo shadeOver grown
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Tarita Tennison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 10, 2019
Hiking

Note: There are two trailheads by the same name. If you use the directions button from Alltrails, google maps will take you to the starting point indicated here. From that I clocked it at about 8 miles total. If you just enter Thomas Gorge Trailhead into Google Maps, it will take you to the first trailhead which adds what appears to be uphill distance. Probably where folks are getting the 11 miles from I did this 6/8-6/9/19. Aside from Bowers Creek (which is running low) there is no water between the TH and Thomas Creek. Despite prior reviews, I did not find more than a couple of usable campsites at Thomas Creek especially if you have multiple tents. Only one site was in shade. May be some on the other side of Thomas Creek but we found no crossable location. There is no shade on the trail aside from a small patch at Bowers Creek. It is blazingly hot, dry and exposed. LOTS of flourishing poison oak. Aside from the view of the Gorge, not worth the drive and energy in my book

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Jamie Keane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 7, 2019
BackpackingNo shadeOver grown

Hiked in from M4 trailhead on 6/7. As we arrived late Friday (~830pm), we camped near mud flat road the first night. A bit windy, but otherwise good vantage point. Finished trail quickly Saturday. Beautiful views for most of the hike. Some spots are overgrown, poison oak abounds. Creek crossing is slippery, but otherwise easily manageable. Good campsites available down by the river. That said, even in shade the temperatures were close to 100. Definitely do not recommend later in the summer! Hike back out was quicker than anticipated, but incredibly hot. As folks noted, there is limited water along this route. That said, you can easily make it back to the road on a single full water bladder, assuming you refilled at the river. Clocked it a 5.3mi each way.

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Harold Pringer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 1, 2019

This trail is best in the Spring, before the daytime temperatures get over 85.

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Cristine Hiker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 29, 2019
BackpackingNo shade

Did this trail 5/26-5/28. We faced rain and mud on the way in, and lots of sunshine on the way out. The trail definitely gets hot on a sunny day! There are two trail heads... one off mud flat rd and one off round trail road. The one off mud flat road is 1.5 miles shorter (we took this route) From the mud flat road trailhead, we clocked the trail at 4.8 miles each way... much longer than is stated here. This trail was lots of fun, and NOT washed out as of now. The first creek, Bowers creek, is beautiful and a great resting spot. The last 1.5 miles is all downhill, and the reward is the beautiful gorge and Thomes creek. Great spots to camp either at the end of the trail or near the creek. This trail is dog friendly, well marked, and id do it again! It DOES get very hot! Bring lots of water! There is a lot of poison oak, and the trail is overgrown in some portions. The way back was mostly uphill, with switchbacks for the first 1.5 miles.

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Adam Z
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 30, 2019
HikingClosedWashed out

Trail washed out at Bowers Creek as of 3/29/19. ☹️ Otherwise, really nice. Wish I could have seen the rest of it!

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Lo Saechao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 4, 2018
Backpacking

I backpacked this on 4/23-4/26. The only good part of it all was the destination the river and the huge mountain is a great site to see while camping, but the trail was harsh during that time of year or all of summer, because the trail had barely any shade there are only few sections of high trees. Bring sunscreen! It is also not a easy trail i would rate this atleast moderate, because it is actually around 11 miles not 7, if you are planning to backpack and camp near the river.

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Kelsey Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 14, 2018
Hiking

Great hike! The road gets a little rough towards the end, I suggest a 4x4. We made it in my Subaru Forester, but there were some dicey areas when it came to having enough clearance. Beautiful views along the way and at the end of the hike! Great place to have a picnic by the river before hiking back out & love this is a dog friendly hike :)

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Kelsey Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 14, 2018
Hiking

Great trail, when you arrive you are partially up the trail (based off following the directions off AllTrails) and you turn right at the trail crossing to get to the gorge. The road is a little rough at the end, I suggest a 4x4. I made it in my Subaru Forester but areas got a little dicey due to lack of clearance. Beautiful view at the end of the hike, great place to have a picnic by the river before heading back out, and love that it is dog friendly (just check for ticks when leaving) :)

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Garrett Patchill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2017
Hiking
First to Review

Great views of the valley all along the trail. The gorge itself is beautiful and a great place to swim if you can manage to walk down the river into it. There are some spots to set up camp near the river bank for an overnighter. This trail has little shade and not much breeze along it so a hot summer day can be brutal

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Taylor Gooch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking
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Nimalan Mahendran
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Hiking
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Nimalan Mahendran
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Hiking
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Estevan Salazar
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Hiking
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Jake McConnell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 14, 2020
Hiking
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