Best Places to hike in Elk Grove, California
If you’re a nature lover and an avid outdoor adventurer, northern Carolina — specifically Elk Grove — is the place for you. This paradise has everything you could ever want for an epic adventure with mother nature: vineyard-draped foothills, rugged coastlines and mountains, turquoise lakes, and of course, out-of-this-world forests, marshes, riparian habitats, and wetlands.
When you visit Elk Grove, you can explore a broad range of the best Northern California trails and terrains. Moreover, many of them are open and easily accessible all year round. If you want to take your nature trip to a new level, stop by some of the top locations for local hiking.
Best Hiking in Elk Grove
Not sure where to go? Check out the overview below. In addition, this article will list some of the most popular hiking in Elk Grove so you can jumpstart your itinerary.
Length of Trail: 3 miles and 8.6 miles
Location: Elk Grove, CA 95624, United States
Whether you live in or plan to visit Elk Grove, you can access the best of both worlds: the great outdoors and suburban convenience. If you’re in the mood for some nature adventure, Camden Park is just an eight-minute drive from downtown. It’s a peaceful and scenic destination where you can enjoy majestic views of lush greenery. Also, it’s a family-friendly park with easy walking trails by the creek.
One of the most popular hiking trails in this area of the woods is Camden Park Loop Trail. It spans over three miles and is moderately trafficked since it’s located alongside the residential area by the lake. If you plan on taking this trail during the summer and are afraid of the harsh sun, don’t worry. There are large trees all around to give you a warm shade. In addition, if you or your kids get tired, there are benches every few meters where you can catch a breath of fresh air or admire the view. Feel free to run, walk, or bike around this trail. And if you have furry friends coming along, they’re free to enjoy this outdoor space with you, provided they remain leashed.
Another option is the Elk Grove Creek Trail, spanning over 8.6 miles of paved floors. This hike offers gorgeous views of the creek and is perfect for other activities like in-line skating and skateboarding. Since the paths are paved, this trail is also wheelchair accessible.
Del Meyer Park
Length of Trail: 3.1 miles
Location: 9265 Elk Grove-Florin Road, Elk Grove, CA 95624
Phone: (916) 405-5688
Located along Laguna Creek, by the outskirts of Elk Grove, is another family-friendly park perfect for hiking and biking. This is Del Meyer Park. In this park, you can find the Elk Grove Laguna Creek Trail, which has a low-intensity level.
It spans over 3.1 miles and is generally considered a relatively easy route. On average, the trail can take up to 56 minutes to accomplish on foot. However, if you decide to ride a bike or take a run, you may be able to finish the whole trail much faster.
Compared to the previous trail, the one at Del Meyer Park is much more open. Unfortunately, this means that there are not a lot of trees that can provide shade. So be sure to keep this in mind when you decide to visit. Also, to avoid direct sunlight and extreme heat, you should try this trail when the weather is much more relaxed.
It’s open all year round and offers beautiful landscape views. However, if you want to make your outdoor experience more memorable, you can plan to visit the trail during sunrise or sunset. The purples, pinks, and oranges from the sky paint the perfect backdrop for the lush green and yellow foreground.
Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Length of Trail: 0.73 miles
Location: 1624 Hood Franklin Rd, Elk Grove, CA 95757, USA
Phone: (916) 775-4421
By car, you can get to the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge from Elk Grove in 20 minutes. This region encompasses over 18,000 acres of safeguarded land in the southern region of America and is home to several migratory birds. Because of this, you can enjoy birding or wildlife watching, which are perfect opportunities for you to educate your children and share the beautiful creatures of the world with them. And the best way to increase your chances of spotting unique wildlife species is to go hiking.
The Blue Heron Trails is one of the most accessible trails you can venture to that gives you access to some of the restored upland habitats and wetlands. Along the trail, you will also find educational kiosks with fascinating facts, which can enhance your experience throughout this self-guided walk. While you’re at it, keep your eyes and ears peeled. You never know what might come into sight. You might see wildlife you’ve never laid eyes on before.
If you’re lucky enough, you may see incredible migrants in the wetlands, like hawks, Sandhill cranes, shorebirds, and waterfowls. While the trail is open all year round, the best season to catch a glimpse of these migratory birds is October to May.
Cosumnes River Preserve
Length of Trail: 3 miles
Location: 13501 Franklin Blvd, Galt, CA 95632, USA
Phone: (916) 684-2816
Similar to the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Cosumnes River Preserve is only 20 minutes away from Elk Grove. It offers miles and miles of pristine and comfortable walking trails, which is perfect for getting your daily dose of exercise.
Two of the most popular hiking trails in the area are River Walk Trail and Lost Slough Wetlands Walk Trail.
River Walk Trail is a 3-mile round trip trail that leads you to an inclined path and traverses many diverse habitats, such as native grasslands, cottonwood-willow forest, oak forest, tule marsh, valley savannah, and buttonbush thickets. On the other hand, the Lost Slough Wetlands Walk Trail is flat and mostly paved. It offers an up close and personal look at the vast wildlife and wetland vegetation.
Both options give you incredible access to the city’s natural wonders. Just make sure not to visit during the winter, as the trails can get flooded and untraversable. If you’re also a lover of animals and extraordinary wildlife, visiting this preserve offers an incredible opportunity to spot one (or more). Because it’s home to over 250 bird species, 400 plant species, and 40 fish species, it’s a paradise for both young and old explorers.
Rancho Seco Recreational Area
Length of Trail: 7 miles
Cost: starts at $12
Location: 14960 Twin Cities Road, Herald, CA 95638
Phone: (209) 748-2318
The Rancho Seco Recreational Area is only a 30-minute drive from Elk Grove and spans over 400 acres. This vast landscape has a 160-acre lake and an abundance of recreational opportunities.
Its recreational activities include camping, boating, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, and tent camping. If you’re an animal lover, you can even go bird watching or explore the on-site sanctuary for rescheduled wildlife and exotic animals. On top of all this, you can also go hiking.
You can hike on The Howard Ranch Trail in Rancho Seco Recreational Area. This 7-mile back-and-forth trail starts at the recreational section and winds through various natural terrains and habitats, like the seasonal wetlands and marshlands. Along the way, you can enjoy striking views of the woodland habitat and marvel at the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains. This trail is a relatively easy route that’s perfect for the whole family. Plus, it’s open for all seasons, with every season offering a memorable experience. During the summer, you can bask in the bright, sunny weather and witness the leaves in their most vibrant colors. In wintertime, see the vernal pools in their most majestic and picturesque state.
While this is a trail that you can do on your own, you also have the option to do it with the guidance of local naturalist volunteers. During springtime, when the wildflowers are in full bloom and the weather is just right, you can enjoy a 3-hour hike at a casual pace while learning about the wonderful and interesting facts about the area.
Hiking Near Elk Grove Essentials
While many of the trails in this list are relatively straightforward, it always helps to be prepared for anything. So take a look at the hiking essentials you need to bring to make your outdoor adventure all the more enjoyable.
No matter what season you plan on going hiking near Elk Grove, it’s important to bring sun protection. This can come in many forms. The most common one is, of course, sunscreen. However, bringing a cap or sun hat and polarized shades may be beneficial if you’re battling harsh sun rays. These items can make it easier for you to see the track more comfortably without squinting your eyes.
Besides sun protection, you must also bring a first aid kit with band-aids, gauze, and wound disinfectants.
Being out and about in nature can lead to accidents like tripping on rocks, slipping, or scratching yourself on a tree branch. Especially if you have kids, who love running around, having a first-aid kit will help you prepare for unexpected events.
Extra Food and Water
Remember, hiking is a physical activity that requires a lot of movement. Because of this, you’re bound to get thirsty or hungry along the way. So, it’s best to pack light snacks and water rather than letting your stomach rumble for hours.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout your hike to keep you healthy and stable. Plus, if you plan on engaging in other extreme activities, it will help to have food on hand to give you the energy you need to power through.
At the very least, you should pack half a liter of water per person per one-hour hike. If you plan on taking a more challenging trail in hotter weather, you may need to double the amount you bring.
Weather can be unpredictable sometimes. You can never be 100% sure if it will rain or be extremely cold during your hike. So, it’s recommended that you bring extra clothes. Bring a rain jacket and a fleece layer in your backpack to stay dry and warm.
If you also plan on swimming or doing other water activities around the area, try bringing towels and extra clothes to change into after a day of outdoor fun.
If you don’t finish the trail before dark, a headlamp with fresh batteries will come in handy to illuminate the path for you. Since you’ll be surrounded by nature and wildlife, having proper lighting is a safety precaution to ensure you remain on the right path.
Explore the Great Outdoors in Elk Grove
Get out of the urban city environment and immerse yourself in the wonders of the great outdoors. There are so many incredible hiking trails in and around Elk Grove that you can explore. Each one offers breathtaking views of nature and unique recreational activities for everyone to enjoy.
From hiking, biking, and camping to bird watching, swimming, and discovering new wildlife, there are many ways to indulge in natural wonders. To make it even more special, bring the whole family along.
Every destination welcomes families of all shapes and sizes to participate in its wide range of experiences. So, what are you waiting for? Choose your trail and plan your next big outdoor adventure in Elk Grove.