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Deer Trail, 0.6-miles, Hidden Falls Regional Park, Placer County, California

This short 0.6-mile trail is a full-width dirt road with a moderate gradient. At its eastern terminus, Deer Trail begins at the junction with River Otter Loop. At its western terminus it connects with Grey Squirrel Trail and North Legacy Way (=the graveled access road). Deer Trail is ideal for equestrians who enjoy riding in groups. There are no cliffs or steep side-slopes, and the full-width dirt road has a high-quality surface with proper out-sloped drainage.

Bring your own drinking water. The nearest portapotty is along North Legacy Way and Ringtail Trail.

The bedrock that underlies Deer Trail is the Copper Hill Volcanics, a formation of the Jurassic Period. Bedrock is generally not exposed along the Deer Trail, but rock fragments are visible in the reddish-brown soil of the trail-bed. This formation is vertically-foliated metavolcanic rock that is parallel in azimuth (about N30°W) to the Bear Mountains Fault Zone (about two kilometers northeast). The sheared metavolcanic bedrock is gray to blue-gray in color, and overlain by discontinuous reddish-brown silty soil with rock fragments. This soil appears as red dust in the summertime, and sticky red mud in the rainy season. There are no known mines or mineral resources within Hidden Falls, so do not perform any mineral prospecting here inside the park; these rocks are barren. The metavolcanic bedrock supports a diverse forest composed of blue oaks, grey pines, manzanita, California buckeye, bay laurel, poison oak, ceanothus, thistles, blackberry vines, and a few majestic valley oaks.

The trail system opened to the public on May 23, 2013. The trail route is highlighted by 42 sequential GPS-tagged photographs that are taken in approximate 75-foot intervals, with each new vista looking westward. The historic 980-acre Spears Ranch was formerly a cattle ranch, so do not follow any cow-paths or deer-paths that do not appear to be of modern 2012 construction.

For more information about the trail system at Hidden Falls Regional Park, please visit the website of Placer County Parks Department. At the time these scientific photographs were taken (June 6, 2013), John Ramirez serves as the Parks Director, Andy Fisher serves as the Senior County Planner, and Robert Dawson serves as the manager of Hidden Falls Regional Park. This leadership will inevitably change in future years, but credit and appreciation is gratefully acknowledged to these Placer County civil servants for their sustained leadership to acquire and build Hidden Falls as a splendid county park with 27 trails totaling 30 miles on 1,300 acres.

Perhaps you would like to serve as an official volunteer on a part-time basis within the County Park system; public service is greatly appreciated. Go to the park website and fill-out the official volunteer form.

The purpose of this comprehensive album is for geologic inventory of the trail alignment, so the photos are taken downward and focused only on the full-width trail-bed and looking straight ahead. The new 2012 trail is now in virtual reality on the GoogleEarth platform, so that reliable maps can be prepared. As a collateral benefit, the virtual reality photos can be viewed in GoogleEarth (analogous to a Peter Pan fly-by) by disabled persons who can no longer hike or ride horses. This photographic album provides meaningful information to equestrians, hikers, and mountain-bikers about trail conditions and terrain. A time-sequence of date-stamped photographs (all taken on June 6, 2013) will enable prescient comparison of trail conditions in future years.

It is hoped that other natural scientists and senior photographers with GPS-tagged cameras will add their scientific photographs taken at different seasons (Spring-Summer-Autumn-Winter), and under different lighting conditions (sunrise-noon-sunset). This will help compile a comprehensive scientific database for geology, botany (trees, shrubs, wildflowers), hydrology, ornithology, and wildlife biology. Hidden Falls Regional Park can then become an outdoor science museum for a wide variety of young people and families (e.g., schools, colleges, equestrians, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, retired senior citizens, environmental groups, 4-H Clubs, endurance runners, and families hiking with small children).

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on June 10, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Robert Sydnor
    • Camera: SONY DSC-HX9V
    • Taken on 2013/06/06 10:43:01
    • Exposure: 0.002s (1/640)
    • Focal Length: 4.28mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.300
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash