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Cerro Vista Ridgeline Trail

Click to view detailed map
Click to view detailed map

Special Note:

The Cerro Vista trailhead, is located on private land that lies along the ridgeline, adjacent to Cerro Vista road.

Trails leading from this trailhead are under constant pressure from four-wheelers and dirt bikers. Concerned about liability issues, fire hazards and trash problems, the property owner has attempted over the years to block entry to motorized users. All efforts, including gates, posts and concrete barriers, have been largely ineffective -- the targeted users have simply forged new paths around every barrier.

Most recently, very large No-Trespassing signs have been erected near the main entry points. In conversations with the lawyers representing the landowner, it is apparent that walkers, mountain bikers and equestrians are not considered to be part of the problem. Accordingly, the best advice MVTA can offer is that legitimate recreational, non-motorized use will not prompt an enforcement action.

Recreational use of this trail, as with all others listed on this website, is at the user's own risk. If you encounter anyone who claims you are trespassing or suggests you should not use the trail, please report the incident at once to the MVTA Trails Coordinator.

Features: The Cerro Vista Ridgeline Trail in the Applegate area is a loop that passes through a variety of terrain and vegetation: Canyon rim vistas and natural meadows, oak forests and Manzanita groves, and a wagon road beside a seasonal creek with a cascade among boulders.

Map Notes: Click on map shown to view the detailed version. There are two parking locations near the northern side of the loop trail. Access to Boole Road and Cerro Vista Road is from the Applegate exit from I-80, top center.

Availability: Cerro Vista Ridgeline Trail is multi-use: Mountain bikers and hikers are asked to use special caution on single track sections with blind corners to avoid spooking horses you may encounter. The trail is generally usable year round, but some sections may become boggy during the November-April wet season.

Equestrians Note: Using this trail as a full loop is no longer possible. The "Portuguese gate" that was formerly available to skirt the cattle guard on Boole Road has been removed by the property owner. Parking for your trailer is still available at both parking areas.

Difficulty: The trail covers about 3.25 miles in all, round trip. The route is generally easy to hike or ride, with some moderate, but short grades. The footing is good and mostly free of rocks. The circuit uses some sections of paved road (shown on the map as black dots.) There is very little vehicle traffic to contend with.


Cougar habitatThis trail traverses "Cougar Habitat." Cougar sightings are rare; use good sense: Do not walk or ride this trail alone. Keep small children and pets close at hand.

Poison Oak grows along parts of this trail and may hang out into the trail in places.

Drinking Water must be carried with you. Trailside water is not safe for human consumption, no matter how clean it looks. Drink it only in an emergency and consult a doctor afterwards.

Trailhead Parking:

You can use either of two parking areas as your trailhead, one on Boole Road, the other on Cerro Vista Road. See "Equestrians Note," above.

Take the I-80 Applegate exit and follow the overpass road East to where it T's into Applegate Road. Go left; the road passes through a narrow tunnel under the railroad. Take an immediate right after the tunnel onto Boole Road. Boole Road is narrow and has poor shoulders, so drive with care.

Continue on Boole Road for about 1.8 miles to where the pavement forks. Boole Road continues to your right; Cerro Vista Road to your left.

  • Cerro Vista Road: Less than a quarter mile up the hill from where Cerro Vista Road branches off from Boole Road, as the road curves to the right, there is a large dirt area to your left. There is room for several cars or a couple of horse trailers on the flat area. From here, you pick up the trail on the opposite side of Cerro Vista, heading south (clockwise route.)

    NOTE: The first 1/4 mile of the trail crosses property that in 2013 was cleared of most vegetation for fire control purposes. Keep the roadway in sight if the trail course is hard to follow.)
  • Boole Road: About 1/2 mile down from the junction with Cerro Vista Road you will cross a cattle guard. About 100 yards farther is a large triangular area between where the roadway sweeps to the right and a dirt road continues straight. This is private property, but the ranch owners are friendly. Horse trailers are Ok, but be sure to cleanup and carry away any "leavings." Also, if riding horses, you will be letting yourself through the "Portuguese" gate on one side of the cattle guard as you proceed along the trail course.

Trail Loop Description

This description starts from Cerro Vista trailhead and proceeds in a counter-clockwise direction. If using the Boole Road trailhead, start with Steps 2 thru 12 and finish up with Step 1.

  1. Proceed to the Boole Road parking by following the paved road downhill to the corner of Boole Road and turn left. (Along the way, you will come to a cattle guard. As noted above, there is no longer a way around for equestrians.) Follow Boole Road for 1/4 mile to the triangular parking area.
  2. From the Boole Road parking area, take the dirt road heading south. This wagon road is an old county easement that follows Clipper Creek to where it passes through a ranch gate (leave it open/closed, as you found it) and joins the far end of Cerro Vista Road. Enroute you will pass beside the seasonal waterfall on your right.
  3. Follow the graded roadway for about 100 yards and turn left onto the paved roadway leading uphill. At the top of the hill, about a quarter of a mile, you will be back to Cerro Vista Road again. Bear off left for a few yards and then cross out into the meadow on the other side.
  4. Follow the trail eastward through the meadow and look for a trail cut into the buck brush to your right. It is marked with yellow survey ribbon. Note: You may see ribbons of other colors along the trail, but these are survey-related and do not apply to the trail course.
  5. The trail section through the brush follows an old wagon road that meanders in a southerly direction. There are two side trails along this section that turn uphill to your left. Each one will shortcut the route you are following, taking you to the northbound side of the loop.
  6. After a gentle climb, the trail will enter a small clearing. The loop trail continues on the eastern (opposite) edge of the clearing, following a winding, single track course downhill through a stand of oaks and Manzanita. Again, the trail is marked with yellow ribbons. There is also a spur trail that heads south from the clearing and goes about 300 yards before dead ending.
  7. The downhill trail crosses a boggy open area and proceeds uphill along a wagon road through more oaks and Manzanita. Look for a branch trail to your left about 100 yards up. The road that continues straight dead ends after a short distance, but there is a nice view to the south from there, if you like to explore.
  8. The trail now heading northward, climbs sharply for a short distance, the only fairly steep slope you will encounter on the entire loop.
  9. After leveling out, the trail crosses a series of small natural meadows. The shortcut trails mentioned in #4 above rejoin in this area. Continuing north, the trail re-enters a wooded area. Watch carefully for the yellow marker ribbons.
  10. The trail will then follow a wagon road over a small hill and down to Cerro Vista Road. As it approaches the pavement, look for a single track continuation of the trail on your right. Following the yellow ribbons, the trail will meander downgrade and away from the road and then back up again.
  11. The trail will approach the paved road a second time. This time you will cross the road and pick it up again on the other side. The trail used to pass through a grove of Manzanita, but that has been cleared for fire safety reasons. The trail is now flagged, but you may prefer to simply follow the roadside.
  12. Along this section there are wonderful views across the North Fork canyon. When the trail comes out again beside the roadway, the Cerro Vista parking area is directly across the way.

Alternate Routes:

  • There are a number of shortcut trails along the basic trail course that can be taken to shorten the loop or provide some variety on a subsequent visit. Consult the map for their locations.
  • On the east side of the loop, you can turn onto the Boole Training Hill trail, taking you steeply down into the canyon to join the Upper Clementine trail. Returning by that trail, you will add about three miles to your route and several hundred feet of elevation change.

MVTA tries to assure the accuracy of the trails information presented,
but can make no claims to such. Please let us know if any entries are incorrect.

Email your comments or questions to our Trails Coordinator.