Red Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern

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Trail Distance: 17.3 miles
Time Estimate: 1 hr 10 min+
Elevation Gain: 1244 feet
Leash Rule: Off Leash
Difficulty: Hard
Parking: Free
Route Type: Loop
Restroom: Yes
Description
The Red Hills Recreation Management Area lies about .5 mile from the historic town of Chinese Camp, south of Sonora and near Yosemite National Park. This wilderness area preserves the natural flora and fauna of the Red Hills area, and is home to some extremely rare plant species. In the spring, hikers are treated to furtastic displays of colorful, plentiful wildflowers growing along streams and among the rolling hills. The red serpentine-type soil doesn't support many types of plants, so most of the landscape is chaparral-covered and from a distance the hills appear ridged and treeless. 


The trails that wander among these hills and ridges are multi-use intersecting loops, mostly unmaintained and unmarked, which makes hiking them an adventure in ingenuity. It's recommended that you carry a compass and map to avoid getting lost in this natural maze. While there are some steep climbs over loose rocks to a few of the ridges and overlooks, for the most part, your pup doesn't have to be part mountain goat to keep up. And most of the paths flow among gentle inclines or grassy flatland.

The area's 17+ miles are traversed by 8 named trails, and the Red Hills Loop is one of the most popular, covering 3.3 miles and climbing about 440 feet. Its trailhead is a parking lot on Red Hills Road  which features restrooms, and its loop is dotted with poppies, white hyacinths and brush. The Verbena Loop Trail, just across the road, is slightly shorter and flatter. A combination of parts of Overlook Loop, Soaproot and Old Stage Trails, accessible from the Red Hills Loop, includes multiple stream crossings where you'll see herons, quail, mourning doves, and a view of the Don Pedro Reservoir. Many eagles nest at the Reservoir in the winter.

While this may not be the most well-known hiking spot in the Yosemite area, it's likely to become more popular as hikers hear of its fun and challenging trails. Enjoy this gorgeous land with your pup!

Trail Features
Grassland, Steep Inclines, Rocky, Easy Incline
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations

These trails are covered in loose rocks, which can be hard on feet and ankles. The abundant wildlife in these hills include bobcats and coyotes. Normally shy of humans, if you see one, give it a wide berth. Plan to be off the trail by nightfall. The mostly single track dirt trails are surrounded in places by dry, scratchy brush, so stay on the trail.

Address
Red Hills Rd
Chinese Camp, CA 95309
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
Red Hills Rd
Chinese Camp, CA 95309
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset