10 miles from Auburn Courthouse. 6 miles easy-steep loop. MAP
For a truly bizarre hiking experience you won’t want to miss this one! It feels a lot like a trail that was “forced down the throat” of the developers of this exotic sprawling neighborhood known as Winchester. The trail follows around the outside fence falling and climbing its way with the terrain surrounding a golf course, man-made lakes, and custom built mansions. Apparently the only fencing allowed in the development is the one that keeps you the hiker, equestrian, or cyclist, separate and protected from the influence of modern living at its finest. If you decide to go clockwise you’ll have natural oak woodland on your left and manicured lawns and yards on your right. It’s still a worth while hike in spite of the weirdness. About half way around there’s a climb up and over Sugar Pine Hill for good views of the rest of the world towards the great central valley.
Directions: From the Courthouse take Interstate 80 east for 8 miles to exit onto Placer Hills Drive (Meadow Vista/Clipper Gap exit 125). Go about 1.2 miles and turn L on Sugar Pine Road, ¼ mile for a L on Winchester Club Drive which will take you into the development. It has all the feelings of a gated community but surprise, no gate. Follow the signs to the Winchester Park where you can park and access the trail.
The trail goes completely around Winchester with the small park next to the outside boundary. You can also park along Bancroft, outside Winchester boundary where there is room for a couple cars. There are also many other places around Meadow Vista that provide access to this trail.
The trail is used by horses and bikes and the best part for me is the climb up and over Sugar Pine Hill for enjoyable views of the surrounding area but you might enjoy the plush verdant golf course just don’t forget that you are not hiking inside the pages of Architectural Digest .