Berryessa Peak Hike
Lat/Lon: 38.66379¡N / 122.19044¡W Elevation: 3057 ft / 932 m
Berryessa Peak at 3,057 feet (931 meters) is the second highest summit in Yolo County, California. Berryessa Peak is also the highpoint of Blue Ridge; a small mountain ridge east of Lake Berryessa that runs in a north-south direction. Berryessa Peak was once thought to be one of the highest points or the highest point of Yolo County. That distinction now belongs to Little Blue Peak. According to Gary Suttle in California County Summits: "mountaineer John Sarna discerned the true highpoint on a topo map in 1991." While Berryessa Peak is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, for many years the summit had no public access as surrounding land was on private property.
In September 2008 a private landowner allowed a public trail easement for access to the summit and the 9,100 acre "landlocked" Berryessa Peak BLM land. This BLM land is administered by the BLM Ukiah field office. As of December 2011, the good people associated with the Yolo Hiker and Tuleyome organizations have been building a trail to the summit of Berryessa Peak. As of December 2011, the trail has about one mile left to be completed to the summit. This last mile is arguably the most scenic portion of the trail as it runs along the final ridgeline to the summit. They hope to complete the trail by May 2012.
Get to the north end of Lake Berressa. The Berryessa Knoxville Road is paved along the north shore. Head north west on the Berryessa Knoxville Road. At the point where the Eastside Road intersects with the Berryessa Knoxville Road (set your odometer here) it is 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
At the trailhead you should be able to see a faint dirt road heading northwest. Looking southwest you should be able to see the faint remnants of an old road/trail. See picture in images section. Also Google Maps gives this location at Lat 38.703178, Long -122.266148.
The hike is 6-7 miles one way. As of December 2011, the trail is fairly straightforward. Be aware that about 1.5-2 miles into the hike the trail runs into an important intersection. You should take the trail to the right. The correct trail heads uphill and back to the west. Look for the green horseshoe section right below words "BLM trail, upper." on the topographic map in the images section.
The last mile to tthe summit is currently a "relative easy" bushwhack (for comparison go do Little Blue Peak). If you do the hike before the trail is finished, it's definitely easier to get up on the final ridge and follow it to the summit than to follow the canyon up to the dirt road 8053/78A. The ridgeline has much less dense brush and you can move fairly quickly. The brush is much denser in the canyon up to the road 8053/78A. We chose to bypass the ridge on the way down. We followed the road 8053/78A down and thought we were taking a shortcut down the canyon to the established trail section. In hindsight this was a mistake. We ate up bit of time with bush whacking (also lots of evidence of wild pigs). When the official trail is finished the final mile will "easier" and more enjoyable - both up and down.
Trekking poles might be useful on the hike as there are several steep sections of the trail. The round trip took our party going at a moderate pace 7 hours 45 minutes with about 2 miles of bushwhacking. With the completion of the official trail, the time to do the hike will surely decrease.
View west from Berryessa Peak