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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Best hike around Davis: Putah Creek

Putah Creek offers miles of hiking, swimming and relaxing, all without leaving Davis

Looking for a quick escape into nature for a hike? Look no further than Putah Creek, right here in Davis! Accessible from trailheads behind the campus airport, the 640-acre natural riparian and grassland ecosystem runs along the southern edge of the UC Davis campus. 

Putah Creek was awarded best place to go on a hike with 46.5% of the vote. It offers miles of hiking trails along a scenic waterfront filled with grasslands and oak trees. Unlike the UC Davis Arboretum, all of the plants along Putah Creek are native to the region, giving visitors a taste of what the natural California environment would look like if UC Davis was never established. 

“It’s just a nice place to go on a hike, swim and vibe with friends,” said Noah Stern, a fourth-year computer science major. “When you are really stressed or something, it is just a great place to go, get away from everything and clear your head.”

The miles of hiking trails are relatively flat and well-traveled; it’s suitable for nearly all ages and levels of activity. Whether you’re an experienced granola hiker with your dog (on a leash, of course) or a frat boy trying to impress your significant other with your brand new birks, Putah Creek is for you. 

And if hiking alone isn’t enough to draw you in, during the summer the water is warm enough to go for a swim. If you go on a hot summer day, you will probably see kids jumping off the rope swings and if you’re lucky enough, one of them might even teach you how to do a backflip. 

If swimming isn’t your thing, you could bring a paddle board, raft down to the water and float or get a workout in. And if you don’t feel like being active at all, perhaps the picnic tables and fire pits are more your speed. Better yet, bring your hammock down and enjoy the sights and sounds of the water as you take a siesta and forget about your problems. 

“The park benches are my favorite part!” said fourth-year history major Marisa Cardoza. “They are really great to watch the view and put your feet up. Especially late at night when nobody is around.” 

According to Adam Weiner, a Ph.D. student from Weill Cornell who visited Putah Creek while in Davis, “The creek was definitely nicer than I was expecting. The water was clean enough to take several jumps on the rope swing. There’s plenty of shade along the riverbank so this place seems like it would be a great place to hike and swim on hot summer days.”

Overall, whether you are looking for a hike or just to relax and get away from the world, Putah Creek is the best place in Davis to do it.
Written by: Justin Weiner — features@theaggie.org


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