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Cache Creek Wildflowers

View of ridge in Cache Creek Wilderness

Cache Creek Wildflowers

- Two Spring trips to Cache creek. One with my Dad, both with Pepper.


  • Great spot for first time backpacking! Easy to find trailheads, great weather in early Spring, no fees or quotas (only a CA campfire permit required) and good flow of water in the river.
  • Did not get cell coverage on the drive approaching and in the wilderness - with the short exception at a high point along the ridge of the Judge Davis trail.
  • Baton Flat was a great destination - but it did get crowded.
  • Worthwhile to check which hunting season it is (Ukiah ranger station) and to call ahead to see if there are any planned water releases (Yolo County Flood Control) that can raise the water level of Cache Creek.
  • Would still recommend the Redbud trail if planning to visit Wilson Valley. Judge Davis has a higher starting elevation at the trailhead and you have to hike back up and out.
  • So many wildflowers if you go in the Spring! And that is before it gets too hot in the Summer months.


I really wanted to go somewhere not far where I could enjoy the wildflowers that wasn't still covered in snow or too cold. I had wanted to camp in Wilson Valley and take Pepper along. And I knew that visiting Cache Creek might get too hot in the summer.


Pepper and backpack ready to go at the Judge Davis trailhead.
Pepper and I are packed up and ready to go

Wildflower along the Judge Davis trail in Cache Creek Wilderness
Flowers along the ridge on the Judge Davis trail

Grasses of the ridge against a cloudy sky in Cache Creek
Wilderness view

Old tree along the trail into Wilson Valley in Cache Creek
Old tree along the trail

View of Cache Creek winding through Wilson Valley
Looking down into Wilson Valley and Cache Creek


  • Visited Mom for mother's day and drove up to the wilderness.
  • Other than the trail head, I saw only two other people as we briefly passed each other on the trail.
  • While some grasses were beginning to brown, and there was gusty wind at times, most of the grass was still green and it was a wonderful time to go.


Flowering thistle heading back along Judge Davis trail
Flowering thistle

Same as hero shot - golden light during the morning hours returning from Wilson Valley
Looking back towards the valley


  • Got an early morning start at sunrise for the return trip home. Nice, cool hiking weather!
  • Such a long, steady climb back out of the valley.
  • Very satisfying coffee and water on the way home.


  • Location: Wilson Valley, Cache Creek Wilderness via the Judge Davis trailhead.
  • Date: May 2022.
  • Stats: 10+ total mileage with ~1,400ft elevation gain.
  • Maps: AllTrails "Cache Creek Ford Trail" and Gaia digital map. CA campfire permit.
  • I really would not recommend Judge Davis into Wilson Valley. Next time I aim for Wilson Valley, I will take Redbud the whole way - as long as you can ford the creek in Baton Flat. It was not a fun hike back out.
Map of route in Cache Creek Wilderness
Hike 2 route map
Gaia GPS | © Mapbox | © OpenStreetMap Contributors

Hike 2 trailhead


I wanted the ease of visiting BLM land and something not too remote for a local gear shakedown. A few other options were closed due to damage from fires, so this seemed like a great choice. I would definitely go again during the shoulder seasons and would try coming in from Judge Davis into Wilson Valley. Maybe even a night at Clear Lake before or after.


View of redbuds and the peninsula in Cache Creek
View of redbuds and the Peninsula from Baton Flat

Panoramic of Baton Flat
Panorama of Baton Flat


  • Made the drive, stopped to pick up lunch to go, and got to the dusty trailhead for an early start.
  • Got turned around on a poorly marked trail, but found a great lunch spot.
  • Stopped to camp at Baton Flat after 3 miles and a steep climb up and down Redbud.
  • Many wildflower photographers, backpackers and OHV riders.
  • Perfect time to go - it was not too hot yet and the hills were green and lush.


Morning with Pepper
Morning scouting scramble with Pepper

Redbud in Cache Creek
Sunrise lighting up a redbud


  • Hiked through the forest, open meadow and high shadeless brush to a view of Wilson Valley.
  • Found a more direct way back to the trailhead.
  • Delicious burger and shake near Clear Lake on the way home. Excellent, classic tunes on the drive as well, like No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature by The Guess Who.


  • Location: Baton Flat, Cache Creek Wilderness via the Redbud trailhead.
  • Date: March 2021.
  • Stats: 5+ total mileage with ~800ft elevation gain.
  • Maps: Lower Lake and Wilson Valley USGS Quads along with AllTrails "Cache Creek Ford Trail". No really great map. CA campfire permit.
Map of route through Cache Creek
Hike 1 route map
Gaia GPS | © Mapbox | © OpenStreetMap Contributors

Hike 1 trailhead

So many wildflowers!
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