Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trail: Wildcat Loop + Upper Meadow (Rancho)

By: Maggie

It was a beautiful morning for a run at Rancho San Antonio today! This was one of the first places that I ran on trails, and it's perfect for beginners because you will never be alone out here, which can be eerie before the sun comes up. That being said, it can be SOOOOOPER crowded, especially on weekends. The lower dirt parking lot (marked as my start/finish) is usually full by 7:30am, so get there early or go on a weekday (ideal!)

It's also great for beginners because it has a nice diversity of trails, all of which are hard-packed dirt with few or no obstacles like rocks and roots. There are some wide fireroad trails that stay fairly flat, and there is even more "single track," narrower trails with a lot of tree coverage. There are two summits: the top of PG&E (about 1200' of climbing) and Black Mountain (about 3000' of climbing). And there are plenty of trails in between!

This is a regular route for me because it's not as steep as the PG&E trail, but I get the same overall elevation gain AND it's more mileage- yay!  I've seen a lot of people doing laps out here, but there are so many trails I don't see the point in repeating the same loop twice. 

The view from the top is always worth the climb :) My route climbed up the ridge to the left (north) of the powerlines. The PG&E trail climbs up the right (south) ridge.
Heading down the Wildcat Loop trail to the Rogue Valley trail is a series of switchbacks - fun to run fast! But definitely have to watch out for hikers and walkers. Keep an eye out for lots of deer, bunnies, and wild turkeys. Fun trails- I just wish there were a good breakfast place nearby!

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