» Official Trail Map: Good map showing various hiking trails and roads.
» TopoQuest Map: Good map for cross-country hiking.
In April 2011, I joined a meetup group for an enjoyable 12-mile cross-country hike. The hike involved over 30 creek crossings, making it a unique and memorably experience.
Route: We went south-east, hopped onto a fire road, reaching a summit in 4 miles. Then we walked down a ravine for about two miles to reach Silver Creek. We then followed Silver Creek for about 6 miles to return to our trail head.
WARNING: Cross-country hiking should be attempted only by experienced hikers with proper gear. You would need to be well conditioned, carry a GPS device, emergency supplies, layered clothing and ample water with yourself. In Griswold-Tumey hills, there was no cell phone reception and it was fairly sunny. The temperature difference between the high and the low for the day was almost 25 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, the difference in San Francisco was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Our experienced hiking leader remarked that one mile of cross-country hiking saps as much energy as 1.5 miles of regular hiking.
Park Information: Website — Area Map — Online Topo Map for Tumey Hills. Some fire roads and jeep trails are shown on the official map. Some trails are not drawn on the official maps.
Best Months to Visit: We hiked in April 2011, which was an ideal time for our hike:
- In the Trail Map, notice that Griswold Hills and Tumey Hills are separated by Silver Creek (drawn in blue). The last six miles of our hike were along Silver Creek, which we crossed about 30 times, quite comfortably. In April, the water level was never more than one foot deep. Temperature was high enough to give me sunburns - I should have used sunscreen.
- In Feb - March time frame, I guess that water level in Silver Creek would be higher. How high? I don't know. Also, if you hike soon after rains, the hills would be muddy.
- From May to July, day time temperatures would be even higher and Silver Creek would have dried out, making it far less enjoyable to hike. So the ideal time would be mid-March to mid-April when spring wildflowers are also in full bloom.
Lodging: You may camp or you may stay at Best Western Inn, 46290 West Panoche Road Firebaugh, CA 93622-9719 or at Mercey Hot Springs (Google Map — Website — Yelp reviews).
Trip report: by Bob Burd (2010) with lots of details of a different route.