The California State Parks, San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area will be conducting the “Path of the Padres” hike and boat tour each Saturday and Sunday through April 13. The hike begins at the Los Banos Creek Reservoir boat launch ramp at 8 a.m. and returns to the ramp about 3:30 p.m.
The Path of the Padres is a historic 35-mile trail that got its name because it was the path through the Diablo Mountain Range taken by the padres as they came from Mission San Juan Bautista into the Central Valley. The tour lunch stop is near the historic “baths,” deep pools carved in bedrock by Los Banos Creek.
Travelers along the same route were the Spanish missionaries, Californios, gold miners, Portuguese ranchers and Basque sheep herders. Hikers will walk in their footsteps and learn about the natural resources of Los Banos Creek and the Yokuts, the area’s first occupants. The Yokuts used the Los Banos Creek area as a village site, a place to process food stuffs, and as a hunting and gathering location for thousands of years.
The tour begins with a boat ride which carries passengers from the west end of the reservoir to the east end of the reservoir where the 4-mile hike along the historic Path of the Padres trail starts. This hike is moderately strenuous and will take approximately five hours. Because Los Banos Creek is crossed several times during the hike, footwear may get wet. Hikers are advised to prepare for the adventure by bringing appropriate hiking footwear (not sandals or flip-flops), extra clothing layers, a hat, sunscreen, a lunch and a minimum of two quarts of water. The path is a moderate to difficult hike with some off camber and narrow trails and some very steep sections that require slight climbing.
For more information, call the San Luis Reservoir office at 209-826-1197.