The Perkins Creek Ridge Trail lies between the always-flowing Cache Creek and the seasonal Perkins Creek in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area. Set among mountains and grassland plains, canyons and lakes, the trail features several furtastic views along its route. Access is via the Red Bud Trail, whose trailhead is located off State Highway 20, where you'll also find a parking lot, toilets, a picnic table and information kiosk with maps.
Following the Red Bud Trail for about a mile across a tall grass meadow, you'll reach its marked junction with the Perkins Creek Ridge Trail, where you'll turn right to the southwest. A steady, sometimes steep, climb through woodlands filled with oak and pine brings you atop the ridge. Many of the ascents are followed by short, welcome descents through the undulating chaparral-covered hills on the dirt and rock trail. Traces of wildlife may appear, including bear, deer, elk, coyotes, raccoons and many species of birds. Bald eagles nest here during the winter and can often be seen. Vultures are occasional visitors on your trek as well. In the spring, wildflowers like California poppies and monkey flower shrubs attract butterflies and bees.
Views from atop the trail are magnificent of the Deadman Canyon, Baton Flat and Quackenbush Mountain, along with the flowing Cache Creek to the south and west. Scheduled releases through the Cache Creek Dam upstream provide a view of startling amounts of rushing water below you.
If some of the steep climbs seem too difficult for you or your fur-bud, there are about 10 gentle, unmarked walk-arounds departing from the main trail that skirt the bases of the ridge's hills and avoid the rigorous up-and-down hike. There are no organized campsites in the wilderness area, but you and Fido are welcome to primitive camping along the trail. Please be prepared to carry in what you need, including water, and carry everything back out.
While portions of this trail can be rigorous for you and your pup, the rewards at the top of the ridge are worth the effort!
Hunting is permitted on this land also, so be sure to stay informed of hunting seasons and equip yourself and Fido with blaze orange. Ticks and poison oak are omnipresent hazards as well.