NOTE: This post contains some pictures of a rattlesnake; I’ve located those at the end of the post, along with an additional warning, so if you’d rather not look at snakes, feel free to read on down until you see the warning sign below!
Google is a little bit confused about the name and location of this particular hiking trail; I was driving along Salmon Falls Road, looking for the Monte Vista Trailhead, and was directed to make a left onto Easy Lane. However, Easy Lane turned out to be little more than a long, bendy driveway for a few private homes. The actual parking area has a large sign near the road reading Falcon Crest. Once you’re on the trail, the confusion continues; I saw Park Service signs referring to the trail both as the Monte Vista Trail and the Brown’s Ravine Trail. I guess it just depends on how far you intend to hike.
I took the Monte Vista South trail, which led me to a spot near the entrance to New York Creek and then circled back, following the shoreline of the South Fork of the American River toward Salmon Falls. In some places the trail was nice and wide, while long stretches of it seemed rarely traveled and nearly overgrown with wild oats, foxtails, poison oak, and wildflowers. I finally joined the Monte Vista North section. This took me to the top of a wide-open hillside with a wonderful panoramic view of the nearly full Folsom Lake and surrounding hills.
While I was enjoying this pretty sight, I glanced up just in time to see an adult bald eagle fly right over my head with a fish clutched in its talons! Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to capture it with my camera. But I did get images of another sort of wildlife only a short distance down the trail.
WARNING: SNAKE PICTURES AHEAD!!
Pretty much on the crest of the hill, I found a rattlesnake stretched out across the trail, soaking in the morning sunshine. This being my first snake sighting of the year, I was quite happy to stand at a respectful distance and take pictures for a few minutes, until the snake decided enough was enough and calmly slithered into the weeds and disappeared.