The Fiske Peak Loop Trail at Cache Creek Regional Park near Rumsey, California is a strenuous 16.2 mile hike up to Fiske Peak and back.
This hike begins at the main parking lot along Cache Creek off of Highway 16. The trailhead can be found just up the road along CA-16, so the recording begins at the parking lot and follows the road for a short distance to the trailhead. The trail immediately crosses a bridge over Cache Creek and then takes a left-hand turn at the Blue Ridge Trail.
The hike up to Fiske Peak is about 4-miles one-way. The first 3.5-miles of the hike are very strenuous because of the steep elevation grade. Hikers should bring trekking poles to help with the elevation, especially if you do not plan to hike the entire loop.
At Fiske Peak, around mile 4, hikers can choose to continue following this route along the Blue Ridge Trail to complete the loop, or head back to parking. By following this route, the trail will gradually make its way back down to parking, so the elevation grade, with the exception of a few uphills, is generally considered easy.
The Blue Ridge Trail offers expansive views, making this a wonderful winter hike because of the sheer mileage. Please note that the Blue Ridge Trail is often easy to follow, but difficult to pass through - because of overgrowth. It can be hard to follow, but easy to pass through - where it's difficult to see where the trail went. There are cairns along the trail to help hikers, but having a map and offline GPS tracking device help a lot along this trail.
Around mile 6.5, hikers will reach Lowery Peak after a fairly difficult descent and ascent back to the peak. If you choose not to head back to parking at Lowery Peak, making for a 13-mile out-and-back trek, you can continue hiking downhill from Lowery Peak to complete the trek and dedicate your time to the entire 16.2-mile loop.
From Lowery Peak, hiking 1.5-miles downhill, you'll reach the Napa County line where there's no longer a trail that runs along the ridge. Instead, you'll take a right-hand turn onto a very steep and unstable trail, which becomes more treacherous as you get closer to a junction with a dirt road.
Once you make it to the dirt road, you've hiked to the Fiske Creek Trail which is the trail that runs back to parking. There's one last climb in the hike along the Fiske Creek Trail where you'll hike uphill toward Sulphur Spring. From Sulphur Spring you'll hike along dirt road for another 2-miles or so back to parking.
Elevation Gain and Difficulty
The trail's elevation gain is about 2,300-feet in just over 3-miles and is one of the steeper hikes in the area.
Hiking in the winter is preferable considering it gets really hot here during other seasons.
Hikers will find parking at the coordinates provided just off of CA-16 and adjacent to Cache Creek.
There is normally a $6 fee near the trailhead.
Dogs are allowed if leashed.
For more trip details, check out this NorCal Hiker blog post.