For those that want to explore, the Nature Center offers several miles of trails that meander over 500 acres. Trail maps at intersections will give you an idea of where you are and where you can go. You can also download a pdf of the Nature Center’s trails and points of interest.
All trails tend to be rocky and exposed. Be sure to carry plenty of water and wear a hat and appropriate shoes.
Before your hike, pick up a copy of the Modesta Canyon Trail Guide at the Nature Center. This booklet will guide you to a series of numbered stops where you’ll learn more about what you can see around you. The guide is only a $1!
Modesta Canyon Trail (1.75 miles)
The hike into Modesta Canyon features permanent springs and pools, fascinating geology, and a rich display of flora and fauna. Here you’ll find huge madrone trees, majestic southwestern chokecherries, and some of the largest Tracey hawthorns in the state. Over 17 species of ferns are found tucked into crevices along the canyon walls. This 1.75 mile, moderate to difficult hike, is a favorite for those who love plants and birds. Please protect the fragile ecology of the springs by staying out of the water.
Outside Loop Trail (2.25 miles)
This moderate to difficult hike will take you down into the canyon to the lowest point on our property and up to Clayton’s Overlook, the highest point on the property. From Clayton’s Overlook you can see miles of breathtaking scenery. While on the overlook, be sure to visit Our Dynamic Landscape; an exhibit that will tell you about the geology, geography, and history of the area you can see before you.
The Hummingbird & Butterfly Trail
This easy, but rocky, loop is only about 1/3 of a mile long. The trail starts at the pollinator garden and skirts the rocky outcrop of Cactus Hill. The views of Mitre Peak are spectacular and the trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that crowd the hillside attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other fun creatures in the summer.