by Sarah Oktay, UC Davis Natural Reserve System
Hikers will be able to return to Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve Monday (Feb. 15), but not all of the trails on the property will be open immediately.
The reserve, part of the UC Natural Reserve system and managed by UC Davis, has been closed since the LNU Lightning Complex Fire in August, which burned through the canyon and surrounding landscapes. Reserve staff and volunteers have been working to repair hazardous conditions along the trails since that time, and some are now ready to reopen.
Only segments of the Homestead and Blue Ridge trails will be open to hikers in the initial phase. The connector trail linking the two at the south end of the canyon remains impassible, so hikers will not be able to complete the popular five-mile loop between the trails. Annie’s Trail will also remain closed until the Yolo County nonprofit Tuleyome has completed repairs on that segment.
In the meantime, reserve staff and volunteers will continue repairs on the connector trail between the Homestead Cold Storage ruins and Annie’s Trail Junction, rebuilding the staircases that help hikers navigate the steep climb.
Initially, the Homestead Trail will end approximately 1.3 miles from the trailhead, and the Blue Ridge trail will terminate 2.75 miles from the trailhead. Signs at the trailhead and at the end points will notify hikers they must return along the same route.
Trail restoration will continue through the spring, and Natural Reserve staff welcome assistance in these efforts. Those interested in being kept informed of the efforts or wishing to volunteer should email reserve steward Paul Havemann or reserve director Sarah Oktay. Interested members of the public can also sign up for the system’s docent training program to become an ambassador for Stebbins Cold Canyon.
Hikers should stay informed of state and Solano County COVID-19 protocols and procedures. Effective social distancing may be challenging on some narrow sections of trail when the reserve is crowded. No water or restroom facilities are available on the property.