Watch the sunset from the top of Cougar Rock on this intermediate hike led by members of the Arnold Rim Trail Association. Distance is about 4 miles total, with 750 feet of elevation gain. If you haven’t done one of these hikes, you owe it to yourself to join the fun. They are scheduled to be near the day of the full moon each month, and they are special!
1) This is an intermediate level hike with 7500 feet of elevation gain, the equivalent of a ninety story building. We take plenty of time with frequent stops. That said, it is not a hike for beginners. Please assess your level of conditioning. If you would struggle with a seventy five story building, even with stops, please take a few weeks of regular training to make yourself ready. It’ll be worth the investment!
2) If this is your first time driving to the parking area, please do not approach on Valley View Drive from Avery Sheep Ranch Road. Instead approach by starting in Arnold and turning off Highway 4 onto Lakemont Drive, followed by a quick left turn onto Valley View Drive. More travel instructions are below.
3) Bring a headlamp or flashlight, bug repellent, a snack, water, and layers.
No sign-up needed, hike proceeds even if cloudy, but rain cancels. (And if the weather has been wet, please see caution below about road condition on the half-mile dirt portion of Valley View Drive.) Bring layers, snack, water, bug repellant and flashlight as return hike is in the dark. If you sometimes use walking sticks, please bring them because about a quarter of a mile of the return downhill hike is rutted. Please arrive at the parking lot at least fifteen minutes before departure time for introductions (this hike attracts wonderful folks) and a brief orientation by the hike leader, as departure times are prompt:
Current Hike Schedule is on hold…
Hikes were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, and resumption is still pending for 2021. Current Forest Service regulations require that group size be limited to no more than ten persons. Since we usually have more than ten persons on these wonderful hikes, we await relaxation of group size standards. We will send an email announcement as soon as hikes resume. To make sure you receive that notice plus other information about the Arnold Rim Trail, please click on the email sign-up at the bottom of this page. We send one email per month from April through October. We never share or sell our email list, and you may always unsubscribe.
As a historical example, these were the sunset hikes in 2019:
May 18th, 2019 – Saturday, arrive by 6:15pm, depart promptly at 6:30pm
June 15th, 2019 – Saturday, arrive by 6:30pm, hike departs promptly at 6:45pm
July 14th, 2019 – Sunday, arrive by 6:30, hike departs promptly at 6:45pm
Aug 11th, 2019 – Sunday, arrive by 6:00pm, hike departs promptly at 6:15pm
Sept 13th, 2019 – Friday, arrive by 5:15pm, hike departs promptly at 5:30pm
Oct 12th, 2019 – Saturday, arrive by 4:30pm, hike departs promptly at 4:45pm
(Return to vehicles about three hours after departing.)
The parking area is at the intersection of Valley View Drive and 5N95Y. Drive 1.50 miles on Valley View Drive from the intersection of Lakemont Drive and Valley View Drive in Arnold. The first mile of Valley View Drive is paved, and the last 0.45 miles is dirt. Pay close attention to stay on the paved section of Valley View Drive and not get off on one of the side streets, because Valley View Drive curves around quite a bit during that first mile while it is paved. Please note there is no sign announcing that you have arrived at the parking area at the intersection of Valley View Drive with 5N95Y, but you will see the dirt road 5N95Y coming in from the right and also the parking area with picnic tables at that location.
Caution in wet weather: The last half mile of Valley View Drive is dirt and can be very slippery and muddy when wet, due to the clay nature of the soil. In fact, when slick and wet, it can be difficult for two-wheel-drive vehicles to climb back up the hill from the trailhead to the paved section of Valley View Drive after the hike, a hill that presents no difficulty whatsoever in dry weather.
Here’s a link to Google Maps that shows the drive from the intersection of Lakemont Drive and Valley View Drive in Arnold to the intersection of Valley View Drive and Forest Rte 5N95Y.
The GPS coordinates of the parking area:
North 38 degrees 13.171, West 120 degrees 22.707