Hwy 80 near Meadow Vista
Date reviewed: January 2004
Unbelievable but true: a developer has accommodated trail users by granting
an easement all around the development. The Winchester loop trail opened in
Summer of 2003 and is an excellent example of saving an interesting and
scenic trail for riders, hikers, and bikers in spite of the construction
within the development. The County worked with Meadow Vista Trails
Association to provide excellent footing, remarkable engineering, clear
directions, careful preservation of wetlands, and more. Hopefully this will
be a model for other development in Placer County.
park in a temporary staging area that is shaded with room for 6 rigs. First
walk your horse up the main road until you pass the church property on the
right. The loop begins and ends right after the first little street. If you
begin to the left (across Sugar Pine ), you will tackle the switchbacks soon
into the ride. Begin on the right and you will have a very relaxing warmup
before you reach the heavy-breather switchbacks.
Once on the trail itself, the footing is carefully graded, and drains well.
No one would complain about all the shade trees, but when the leaves on the
ground are thick and wet, it can be a little too slick for much trotting or
The trail follows the actual border of Winchester property, originally
bounded by an old barbed wire fenceline. As quickly as possible the MVTA is
removing this and replacing it with safer cable. Whenever the trail crosses
a bog, marsh, or stream, the engineers provided the appropriate culvert,
overpass, or bridge. When the trail passes neighbors with barking dogs, they
nicely posted a sign to advise the dogs are just noisy. (They’ re also on
the other side of the fence!) One non-Winchester neighbor has provided a
waterer for trail horses, and there is another watering spot as well.
On the one long steep hill, with switchbacks, someone knew exactly how long
and at what angle to cut the trail, because even one little black
out-of-shape horse got up just fine. (Complaining doesn’t count.) The views
from the top are spectacular.
This is an approximately 8-mile loop, 2-1/2 to 3 hours at the walk. Thanks
to the County and the Meadow Vista Trails Association with Janet Peterson as
President, it an excellent trail.
DIRECTIONS: About 20 minutes from Loomis.Take Hwy. 80 East, take the Meadow
Vista exit. Go back over 80 onto Placer Hills Road. Go 1 mile to Sugar Pine.
Make a very slow left onto Sugar Pine, and make an IMMEDIATE right hand turn
over the curb (where it dips a few inches) down into the temporary staging
area under the trees. Turn well before the chain link for the church parking
Saddle up, then handwalk (unless your horse is good on pavement with huge
construction trucks roaring up behind him a few feet away--NOT!) up past the
church. Pick up the trail either on the same side of Sugar Pine (the
easy-going beginning) or cross Sugar Pine and begin where the switchbacks
will come up within 20 minutes or so.