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 780 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 from May through October, and they are special!


1) This is an intermediate-level hike with 780 feet of elevation gain, the equivalent of a seventy-eight-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-eight-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.

Please arrive at the parking lot at least fifteen minutes before departure time for introductions and a brief orientation by the hike leader, as departure times are prompt:

July 23rd, 2021, Friday, arrive by 6:30, hike departs promptly at 6:45pm
Aug 21st, 2021, Saturday, arrive by 5:55pm, hike departs promptly at 6:10pm
Sept 18th, 2021, Saturday, arrive by 5:15pm, hike departs promptly at 5:30pm
Oct 16th, 2021, Saturday, arrive by 4:30pm, hike departs promptly at 4:45pm

(Return to vehicles about three hours after departing.)

The trailhead is at the intersection of Valley View Drive and Forest Rte 5N95Y.
Here’s a link to Google Maps of this intersection.

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. There is no sign at the intersection of Valley View Drive with Forest Rte 5N95Y, but you will see a parking area on the right with a picnic table at that location. 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.

Caution about wet weather driving: Please note that in wet weather, the half-mile dirt portion of Valley View Drive can be very slippery. Two-wheel-drive vehicles have difficulty driving back up the hill after the hike. All-wheel drive vehicles are highly recommended in wet weather.

The GPS coordinates of the trailhead:
North 38 degrees 13.171, West 120 degrees 22.707

Questions? Email Pictures of the sunset hikes are often posted to the ARTA Facebook page.