Trails at Stebbins Cold Canyon are rugged, steep, and highly sun-exposed. We are in the midst of an unprecedented fire season, with fast-moving fires throughout the region. Hiking when forecast temperatures are above 85 degrees is dangerous. Please hike only early in the morning and carry large amounts of water (>1 gallon per person if you intend to do the Loop Trail).
Life-threatening heat illness and emergency rescues occur here weekly during the hot months. Several pet deaths from dehydration have also happened this year (reminder: pets are not allowed on the trails). Hiking unprepared endangers yourself and rescue crews!
Dogs are not allowed anywhere on the reserve.
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve is primarily dedicated to teaching and research; however, its trails are open to hikers year-round from sunrise to sunset. Stebbins Reserve trails are accessed from trails originating on the Putah Creek Wildlife Area. UC Davis strongly discourages hiking in very hot weather and in periods of high risk of fire or flood. At times the trails may close due to hazardous conditions.
Do not leave valuables in cars.
- Stay on trails.
- No dogs on trails.
- Pack out everything you bring in – leave no waste.
- Do not collect plants, animals or other organisms.
- Do not disturb research sites or restoration areas (indicated by colored tape, flags, or signs).
- No mountain bikes, guns, or campfires.
Download the trail safety handout prepared in collaboration with the Vacaville Fire Protection District before heading out.
- Trails are rough, steep and strenuous. Some areas have cliffs and steep drop-offs; never allow children to run ahead unsupervised. Stay off of legacy trails that are not signed and on the map; these are unmaintained and potentially hazardous. Wear proper footgear.
- Avoid heat exhaustion and stroke – drink plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun. Avoid hiking in hot weather. No water is available on site.
- Avoid hiking during periods of high fire danger. Fires move very quickly on scrub-covered slopes. Wildfires can happen at any time, but warm days from May-October are highest risk (Cal Fire updates here).
- Fire-damaged trees may be weakened; stay away from damaged trees and avoid the area on windy days.
- Do not attempt creek crossings during periods of high water.
- Rattlesnakes are common in rocky areas of the reserve. Watch your step, and look before sitting!
- Poison oak grows thickly along the trail; stay on the trail, and avoid brushing up against leaves and bare branches.
- Ticks are potential disease carriers. Stay on the trail, wear long pants and inspect and wash yourself after your hike.
- Mountain lions are active in the area. Hike with a partner, and keep children in sight.
- Avoid contact with rodents or their nests or droppings, as they may be carriers of Hantavirus.
- Hunting may occur on neighboring lands: danger of stray bullets.
Cell phone service is not consistenly available in the area, although it is often better near ridgetops. It is always advisable to carry first aid equipment and extra water.
Please help ensure everyone’s security by notifying the Reserve Director of any inappropriate uses of the reserve that you observe.