Wolf Creek Ridge runs northwest for about 5 miles 5 miles north of Clearlake Oaks above the northeast side of Clear Lake. It is bordered by Long Valley to the southwest and Wolf Creek to the north east. The ridge is mostly covered with chaparral which is typical of mountain terrain in this area. There are a few old abandoned fire roads coming up the southwest slopes connecting to one main fire road that runs along the top. The high point (3,120') is at the northwest end of the ridge.
At first I was hesitant to put up a page on this hike because some sections of the road that run along the top are quite steep and covered in scree with a hard base. It was bad enough going up and worse coming down. I didn't go all the way to the high point but to the 2,820' point mainly because of the nasty roads.
After I got back I reconsidered because the views in the pics I took made me feel it was worth the effort.
To the south is Mt. St. Helena, Cobb Mtn.,Mt. Hannah and Mt. Konocti. To the north Rocky Ridge, to the east Cortina Ridge and Blue Ridge and below the beautiful green fields of fertile Long Valley.
The round trip effort to the high point is approximately 7 miles and 2,800' gain. To the 2,820' high point it is approximately 5 miles and 1,900' gain.
Long Valley from the ridge
Old orchard along New Long Valley Road at start of hike
From Interstate 5 at Williams take Hwy. 20 35 miles to New Long Valley Road on the right.
From the junction of Hwy. 53 east of Clear Lake take Hwy. 20 2.7 miles to New Long Valley Road on the left.
Take New Long Valley road north as it curves to the northeast entering Long Valley 5.5 miles to an old orchard with just a few trees to the right at the base of Wolf Creek Ridge. Park on the side of the road. A steep old fire road commences up the ridge just past the orchard.
Looking down the bad section from the 2,820 high point
Lookin up the bad section to the 2,820' highpoint
The route starts (1,200') climbing steeply up the slope. It passes a merge with another road coming from the left at .4 mile. It continues another .3 mile going up to the right where it connects to the road along the top of the ridge (2,150'). The road climbs up and around progressively higher points with the option to go around some of the more direct steep sections. The last section to the 2,820' high point was the worst I encountered. About 200' vertical of loose scree rock on a hard base.
Since I didn't go all the way to the high point 1.5 miles further I can't say for sure about the route but based on the topo the last uphill looked like it could be the worst.
There were other roads coming up the ridge further along but they looked sketchy and incomplete on Google Earth.
Descending Wolf Creek Ridge
Except for an old no trespassing sign on one of the alternate connecting fire roads coming up the ridge there were no posted restrictions at all on the ridge.
When to Climb
North to Rocky Ridge
Winter, spring and fall should be best. The ridge probably gets damn hot in summer with very little shade. It could have snow on top in winter.
Looking southeast along the ridge
There is no camping in the immediate area. The nearest area would be Cache Creek Wilderness. The campground page is down as of 3-21-14. Some backpacking suggestions for that area can be found here.
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