Big Creek Trail, the Flattest Trail in Groveland

Big Creek Trail, the Flattest Trail in Groveland

I am training to run my second half marathon! Hopefully in another 8-ish weeks time I will be blazing through the Davis Moo-nlight half marathon like a pro. Alternatively you might find me limping past the finish line in the horrible central valley heat . Either way, I am pretty excited for the glow in the dark medals you receive for finishing. Plus, it is convenient before Curtis & I’s busiest backpacking months (so hopefully we can avoid injury from over-training/hiking?). Currently I am on week 3 of my training regimen, at the point which I decided to mix things up for today’s 7 mile run, because as much as I enjoy running it can become awfully repetitive.

Normally starting from my house I can run a 6 miles (3 out and 3 back) to the start of Pine Mountain Lake’s Big Creek Trail. Which is a bummer since I just made it to the interesting portion! But not today, I drove those 3 miles and parked outside the trailhead finally get to explore this trail – which turns out to be the flattest thing I have ever run in in the Groveland area! To think I have been forcing myself to run up hills this whole time ;)

Big Creek Trail - outside the PML boundary!

Slate (?) along the trail – thanks to the railroads of yesteryear for cutting this out of the way!

Big Creek Trail

Distance: 4.5 miles round trip (2.75 miles from Pine Mountain Drive to Big Creek Shaft Road). The trailhead sign claims one mile of trail inside of the Pine Mountain Lake boundary  but my GPS tells me that is an overestimate – but there are a couple of side paths on the trail which if explored could extend the distance.

Trailhead: The trailhead is located inside of the Pine Mountain Lake (PML) gates, meaning you need a gate card/pass to get to it, straight down Pine Mountain Drive from the main gate, and then located in a pull out on the right after the Big Creek Bridge. Alternatively if you can not get access to PML than you could park on Big Creek Shaft Road – there appears to be a large pullout before the Big Creek Bridge and than you can find the trail over the bridge an on the left (you will know you are on it when you see a gate to keep out unauthorized vehicles).

I have taken leisurely strolls down the Big Creek Trail before, and even started past the gate outside of the PML boundary  but setting off today I did not know if the trail would suddenly end running into the creek or someone’s house. As it turns out the trail follows an old railroad grade all the way to Big Creek Shaft Road – and it is moderately popular with dog walkers and power walkers alike.

Big Creek Trail Map

The map at the trailhead simply does not state what happens after the PML boundary – because it is scary outside of the gate! Just kidding, they probably just don’t want to say since they do not own the land.

Big Creek, Groveland CA

This is Big Creek. The name is not entirely accurate.

I think this is a real hidden Groveland Treasure, albeit it is just a simple ~3ish mile long out and back wooded trail. The trail is flat, well shaded, has minimal poison oak encroachment (at least that I could see from running), not very many tripping hazards (and I am a trail running tripping machine), and allows pedestrians, dogs, and bikes (plus I am pretty sure one of the nearby home owners takes their horse down there too!). It is the closest thing Groveland has to a perfect little running trail!