Back to index Lake Pardee (Rich Gulch) East Hike
Trip Date:  4/19/2019

: 7.25 Miles

Vertical Gain: 800'

Group Size: 2

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
Pardee East Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Pardee East Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 17.156, W 120 45.439     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 49 to Middle Bar Road.  Go south on Middle Bar Road until you cross a one-lane bridge over the Mokelumne River.  After crossing, turn right and drive up about a mile to the parking area at the coordinates provided.  NOTE: You need to have an East Bay Municipal Utility District trail pass which are available online at to use these trails.
Hazards of Note:   Ticks, rattlesnakes, poison oak.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate.   While the general area can have a lot of visitors, many of them head the opposite direction for a wildflower hike closer to the actual Pardee Reservoir.
General Notes:
From the parking area you will find the trailhead on the east side of the road.  Walk around by the gate and then head up the trail, making sure to sign in at the register of hikers out on the trail.  There are a number of options for which direction you can go, but in this case we ended up going in more of a "figure 8" direction with the first part heading counter-clockwise, and then the second part heading clockwise.  Once 3/4 of the trail has been completed you will end up back at the bridge you first crossed driving to the parking area, and then the last mile is along the road to the car.

The small turnout where there is room for a number of cars on either side of the road.  We parked on the east side, near the gate for the start of this trek. Parking area
Heading onto the trail through the gate at the start of the hike. Gate to start the hike
Each of the trails in the area has a small visitor log with information about the permits required but no actual permits available here.  Make sure to have one from the online link above before you head out. Visitor Log 
An early trail view of Mokelmne Hill with the placid Mokelumne River in the foreground. Mokelumne Hill
The area was gorgeous and green on this spring day.  Spring to early summer is the best time to be out here, before the grasses dry up and the rattlesnakes make an appearance.
Early spring
Great colors of green everywhere.  This ravine looked inviting but was too far off-trail for this trip. Green ravine
The East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) had done a good job of improvements on this trail, including bridges like this one over various creeks and washes. Trail bridge
Gaining elevation on the return section of the trip affords some nice views to the west.  Even though you can't see the lake from here, it is out there around the bends you see in the distance. View West 
A quick glance south before the trail took a surprisingly steep dropoff for the next quarter mile. Looking south
On a warm day such as this we were glad we had picked the direction that left this on the downslope for us rather than heading up it.  Surprisingly steep! Down
Some of this hike is on the Mokelumne Coast to Crest route, which technically will take you all the way from the Bay Area to the mountains between Highway 88 and Highway 4. Signage
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike