Rock and rollercoaster

Hiking the Pioneer Express Trail from the parking lot at Sterling Pointe Equestrian Staging Area is a seriously up-and-down experience. There are some great views of Folsom Lake — but this time of the year, you’ll be too busy avoiding poison oak, watching swallowtail butterflies, and navigating up and down the horse-sized changes in altitude to notice the view. No matter how many times I return to this spot, I’m always surprised by the steepness of the climb back up to the parking area and so happy to finally make it back to my car!

Scarlet Paintbrush grows in full sunlight, and I had a tough time accurately depicting their gorgeous red-orange hues

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