Location: Round Valley Regional Preserve
Trails Featured: Miwok Trail, Hardy Canyon Trail
Total Mileage: 4.66 Miles
Total Ascent/Descent: 1518 Feet
This video follows the hike from start to finish, but read below for details.
Round Valley Regional Preserve is a nice, secluded place with beautiful clusters of oaks and a wide variety of grasses, including rye, wild oats, foxtail chess, and wild barley. This was once home to California Indians, and evidence of their past activity has been found in several areas at the preserve.
I took a loop hike, which included only two trails, the Miwok and the Hardy Canyon Trail. Along the route you may see rabbits (Audubon or desert cottontail), hawks, golden eagles and certainly some ground squirrel, which are food for the raptors. In the rainy season, you'll see some nice streams and ponds, which are home to red-legged frogs, western toads, western pond turtles and Pacific tree frogs. You'll pass through oak woodland, with pockets of blue, valley, coast and interior live and black oaks. In my first visit, the buckeye was flowering, and the during the second visit, was dropping leaves. (The photos below show the flowering buckeye, the video will show their later stage.)
About the hike
Round Valley Regional Preserve feels like it's in the middle of nowhere, but it's well worth the trip. There is a nice parking area with toilets and an information/map board.
Start out on the Miwok trail and cross the bridge. You'll go through a cattle gate and start a rolling climb on a wide fire road type trail. On your left you'll see clusters of Oaks, and on your right, you'll see a pleasant vineyard. Be careful to avoid the horse poop and ruts on the trail left by cattle and horses.
You'll see some random trails shooting off Miwok, but I stayed on the main trail.
At .6, Cross a little cement bridge
At .72 Cross another cement bridge
At 1.14 Cross another Cement Bridge
At 1.28 Cross a heavier bridge
1.39 Stream on right is loaded with boulders. Seeing Oaks, boulders and grasses with patches of canopy
1.49 Take a Left on to Hardy Canyon Trail
Hardy Canyon Trail is a climb as you start up. To the right is a nice valley, to the left is an Oak studded hillside.
Hardy Canyon Trail is a narrow, single track trail. I saw squirrels and rabbits, and the valley below is beautiful...Hardy Canyon Trail will give you a nice, heart pounding climb. I saw a few runners coming down the trail, but I was the only one going up. This must be the hard direction!
2.35 on Hardy Canyon, almost all uphill, moderately steep
2.44 on Hardy Canyon Trail, hawks circling above, hunting ground squirrel
2.71 Trail here is in pretty bad shape, on right is a gulley, on left the dirt is rutted, but footing is precarious, but doable
2.97 Pond on right
3.25 Clusters of Buckeyes
3.83 Trail splits - take the trail to your left. The last time I was there, someone had blocked the trail on the right with a few logs. I think it goes past the ranch, but keep to the trail on your left.
Continue on through a few more forests of oak, and pass through another cattle gate.
4.66, cross back over the bridge to the parking area.