Hikes

The Middle Mountain Foundation Interpretive Program hikes provide access to the privately owned Sutter Buttes hillsides and peaks. Guides share its unique origin and history and examine with you a natural ecology that has become increasingly rare in our time. The different hikes and diverse guides each offer a singular experience in the Buttes.

A typical day in the Buttes begins at 8:00 am and ends around 3:30 pm (unless otherwise noted). Trips are scheduled and will proceed in all but the most severe weather conditions. Participants of all hikes should be prepared to expect uneven footing, stepping over rocks and boulders, crossing streams, and hill climbing. Spring hikers are likely to encounter wet, squishy, ankle-deep grass, while fall trekkers will be contend­ing with thistles and stickers. Poison oak is abundant, but you will be warned of its proximity. Rattlesnakes, though common in the warmer weather, are usually reclusive and inactive during our hiking seasons. Hikes are limited to 20 unless otherwise stated.

Individuals and families may reserve a date for one of the public hikes by email at mmfhikes@yahoo.com; or call Karen at 530-671-6116. Cost for open hikes is $35 per person unless otherwise stated. The fee is used to pay the guides, reimburse the landowners, and for liability insurance. Any remainder is used for our conservation and education work.

Some hikes are acceptable for smaller children, but many are not. All of our hikes are educational experiences. We find that no hikes are appropriate for toddlers. We suggest that hikes rated 3 or 4 may be suitable for children 12 or older, but it depends on the child and the hike. Please inform the hike coordinator when making your reservations if you are considering bringing children.

Organizations or groups of ten or more may schedule a charter hike by contacting Margit at 530-846-5142 after 5:00 p.m. or by email at psands@manznet.com. The cost for charters is $300 minimum for the first ten, and $30 per person for each additional hiker.

Peace Valley: MMF has made the decision to not offer any Peace Valley hikes until the access issues between the landowners and State Parks are resolved.

Hike Descriptions

Hiking in the Buttes can be strenuous. Ridge Trek, Brockman Challenge, and Summit Ascent hikes can include up to a 1000 foot elevation change, often going up steep hillsides. If you are not in good physical condition these hikes are not recommended.

Not all hikes are offered each season. The schedule is posted just prior to each hiking season.

Some hikes are acceptable for smaller children, but many are not. All of our hikes are educational experiences. We find that no hikes are appropriate for toddlers. We suggest that hikes rated 3 or 4 may be suitable for children 12 or older, but it depends on the child and the hike. Please inform the hike coordinator when making your reservations if you are considering bringing children.

No smoking and no pets are allowed on any hike.

Art Trek

Bring your camera, pencils, paints, and musical instrument and enjoy a day of creativity in the Sutter Buttes. We will stroll and explore a myriad of subjects, both natural and man-made. Bring food and water.

Bat Research Field Trip

Join wildlife biologist David Wyatt as he introduces you to the wonderful world of bats while he conducts bat research in the Sutter Buttes.

This extraordinary outing begins at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County with a PowerPoint show about bats. It will include an introduction into bat biology, as well as pictures of bats, both locally and from other parts of the world. After seeing pictures of some of the bats we might see later that evening, we’ll carpool into the Dean Ranch in the Sutter Buttes and assemble for a short hike to discuss bat biology in their actual habitat. After dinner (please bring your own dinner), we’ll gather near the pond to observe the process of mist netting as the biologists try to capture and identify various bat species from the Sutter Buttes. With luck, we’ll be able to directly observe some of the various species of bats occurring in the area.

Bring a flashlight or headlamp, camp or beach chair, and layered warm clothing (it might get chilly in the evening). We will be out for several hours after sunset (likely until about 11 pm).

The hike fee is accepted by the Middle Mountain Foundation solely to cover insurance and other costs, to contribute to land access fees, and to support conservation efforts by the Foundation.

Birds in the Buttes

Witness the winter birds in and around the Sutter Buttes with the Christmas bird count organizer, Pete Sands. Bring food and water. Meet at 6:45 a.m. Limit is 12; not suited for younger children.