|Trailhead location||Girard Ridge Rd, East of Castle Crags|
|Elevation gain / max||400′ / 4,800′|
|Difficulty||Moderate (Hike) – Easy (Bike)|
|When to go||April to November|
|Dogs allowed?||Yes, on leash|
A hike or bike along a nearly flat ridgetop forest road with views of Castle Crags, Mount Shasta and Mt Lassen with wildflowers along the way.
After driving 2700 vertical feet up Girard Ridge Road from the Sacramento River (yellow dotted line on map above), park when you reach the crest of the ridge (see detailed driving instructions below).
Hike on the ridge top road 39N13 to the east. (Red line on map above) After about 0.5 mile you will pass the road going west to the lookout, a great treat for the end of your outing. (Blue line on map above) Keep going east along the ridge as far as you want. There will be occasional glimpses of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen in the distance. Enjoy looking for wildflowers and enjoying the forest as you go along.
About 4 miles from your starting point the PCT will cross the road. This makes a good point to turn around. (FYI the Sacramento River is 10.6 miles from here along the PCT and the Cabin Creek Trailhead on Squaw Valley Creek is 4.7 miles east of here on the PCT.) Road 39N13 has virtually no traffic on it.
Directions to the Trailhead
“Girard Ridge Informal Trailhead” hiking area in Google Maps:
Start at Soda Creek Road / I5 Interchange (Exit 726):
- Head east on Soda Creek Rd, across the railroad and Sacramento River
- After 0.4 miles, continue straight onto Riverside Rd
- After another 0.6 miles (1.0 mi from start) turn left onto Girard Ridge Rd (38N23)
- Drive just over 5 miles to ridgetop 2700 feet higher than the river
- Follow the 38N23 signs and stay on the most used road
- This is a steep well maintained dirt road
- When you reach the ridgetop find a place to park
- Leave at least 15 ft clear for vehicles to pass
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