Moore Creek Park (Napa County, CA) 18-Apr-2017

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

One of the goals for this visit to the Golden State was to catch-up with my old friend Ken (and his partner Julie) when his energies weren’t being given totally to the grape harvest.  So after we finished our hike of Oat Hill, we went over to Ken and Julie’s for an excellent dinner, some of Ken’s wine, and a discussion of which hike to do together the next day.  The weather forecast looked excellent – finally sunshine! – so we decided to hike the Moore Creek Trail from the Las Posadas trailhead down to the Moore Creek trailhead (brochure).  This was the third hike in our week of wandering the Golden State.

After setting-up a car shuttle, we started out from the Las Posadas trailhead under refreshingly sunny skies.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Leaving the Las Posadas trailhead

Pretty soon, Ken, who is intimately familiar with this area, having written hiking guides for the Napa Valley, took us off-trail through a boulder strewn area called Recreation Flat.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Crossing Recreation Flat

Thanks to the wet winter, the intermittent stream that crosses the Flat was actually running.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

The stream in Recreation Flat

After crossing the Flat, we got back on a dirt road heading south through the forest toward Moore Creek.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Along the road through the forest

A little ways along the road, we popped out of the forest into a field that was glowing with California Goldfields. And there was sunshine!

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

An open field with Goldfields (Lasthenia californica)

There were also a lot of other wildflowers blooming, some of which we could readily identify and others that we’ll just have to appreciate for their aesthetics.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Bird’s Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Red Bells (Fritillaria sp.)

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Globe Lily / Diogenes Lantern (Calochortus amabilis)

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Wildflower

Shortly after passing the open field, we came to the start of a new trail (just three weeks old) called “Dan’s Wild Ride.” As the name suggests, it was built as a mountain bike trail but works just as well for simple ground pounders. We started off down the new trail,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Beginning Dan’s Wild Ride

and soon reached the first of what would be five crossings of Moore Creek. Fortunately there’s a wooden balance beam at each crossing to provide a water-free (if your balance doesn’t fail) crossing.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Arriving at our first crossing of Moore Creek

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Moore Creek

After this first crossing, the new trails climbs the eastern slope of the creek canyon,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Along the new trail

to give us a nice view down canyon,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

The view down canyon from up on the new trail

before descending again to Moore Creek.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Back down to Moore Creek

The creek, thanks to the wet weather, was going pretty good,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Moore Creek

so that the unhappy thought of falling in it added a certain frisson to each crossing.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Our second crossing of Moore Creek

Our third crossing went well,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Our third crossing of Moore Creek

as did our fourth.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

After our fourth crossing of Moore Creek

The shade along the creek and the creek itself (with its excellent swimming holes) would seem to make this an ideal summer hike when it was too hot to be weaving around in the sun drenched, and hence sweltering, hills above. After our fourth crossing, we ambled along through the forest for a bit,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Through the shady forest along Moore Creek

before making our fifth, and final, crossing of the creek.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Ken takes our fifth crossing of Moore Creek in stride

After that, we transited some more oak forest,

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Through the shady oak forest above Moore Creek

before breaking more into the open about a mile from the southern trailhead.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Nearing the end of our hike along Moore Creek

From the southern trailhead, we shuttled back to Las Posadas. All in all, it was an excellent hike (8.3 miles; 1,400 of elevation loss) on a beautiful day through amazing scenery with great friends. Our timing with the weather (and for visiting during the quieter off-season) couldn’t have been better. If Ken and Julie are willing, we definitely plan to take advantage of his knowledge of this area to do some more hikes here.

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Julie, Ken, and the LovedOne at the Las Posadas trailhead

Moore Creek Trail Napa County California

Our one-way hike along Moore Creek and Dan’s Wild Ride

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