Winter Hidden Waterfall Hike (and photo op)

OK. Last minute notice:

The forecast is for less than 0.01 inches, with low chance at the beginning of the hike and 24% chance at the end of the hike. So it looks like very favorable conditions.

See the hidden waterfall (Peters Creek waterfall) in full flow. We've led summer hikes over the last three years, but the flow has been understandably low. Now that it has rained seriously, the Peters Creek basin at the top of the north Santa Cruz mountains is full and flowing over the very impressive Peters Creek waterfall. We're intending to take photos. Come have messy fun.

The hike is not strenuous. It is a three mile round trip (1.5 miles in and 1.5 miles out), and only 300 feet of elevation change. [On request, we can drop you off at Portola Heights Road, which will halve the length of the hike.] But the hike will likely be messy. Wet feet, muddy shoes and pants, slipping and falling on your butt, will be recreational hazards. Don't RSVP if you are not willing to do a load of laundry afterwards.

The final stretch is an unmaintained trail. There are three side creeks that will need to be crossed. No footbridges. One creek is big enough that we'll have hikers assist other hikers who want assistance from both sides of the creek when crossing.

Rain is predicted.  The tree canopy will be dripping for the last half of the trek. The temperature will be 50-55 degrees. So waterproof outer clothing is recommended, and an umbrella or hat. Bring an umbrella for taking pictures.

The dates and times may change, so be sure to RSVP yes or no. Date-change notices will be sent to both the yes RSVPs and the no RSVPs. The date will change if it is likely to be actively raining on the date in question.

Currently scheduled date:
Saturday morning, January 9th, 11 AM at the trailhead.

Backup date, Saturday, January 23rd, 11 AM at the trailhead (Grizzly Flats parking lot).

Alternate date, Sunday afternoon, January 24th, 1:30 PM at the trailhead.

Backup alternate, Sunday afternoon, January 31st, 1:30 PM at the trailhead.

It'll take roughly 30-60 minutes to get to the trailhead from the flatlands of the peninsula and south bay, and up to 2 hours if you are coming from the north and east bay areas. Map it out so that you won't be late. If you are late, you can hike fast to catch up. The first half of the hike is on well maintained trails that are marked with good signs.

One-page hiking directions and a map are also provided in the “Photo” section of this Meetup group.

Hiking Directions:  Go west from the Grizzly Flat parking lot or the Peter's Creek / Long Ridge trailhead. The trail used to be named the Grizzly Flat Trail (not the North or South Grizzly Flat Trails, which are on the wrong side of the highway), but according to Google Maps it now appears to be called the Peters Creek Trail. At the bottom of the hill, turn right (north) onto the Ridge Trail. 30 feet after crossing Portola Heights Road (gated), turn left onto the Peters Creek Trail (formerly called the Not-a-Trail Trail). [Honestly! There was a sign and everything.] This trail will take you back down into the Peters Creek Canyon, to a flat, former homestead site, where there is a small, square, exposed concrete foundation (which is clearly visible on satellite images). Continue straight through the clearing to re-find the Peters Creek Trail, which follows Peters Creek on the north side. The trail peters out at the waterfall.

OK.  Sorry.

Bring water to drink and food to munch.  And bring a camera (or smart phone) if you are so inclined.

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