Kenny Ranch

According to their website: Kenny Ranch is a large property around Twin Cities Church west of Grass Valley including the urbanized ridge with some open meadows, and a forested hillside that drops down toward Deer Creek on the north.

  • Easy to Locate? Yes
  • Pet Friendly? Yes. Dogs MUST be on a leash.
  • Easy to Walk? Yes, for the most part. Depending on what trail you take, there may be some steep hills. The trails are well maintained but can be very wet, muddy and slippery in the winter.
  • Is there a Fee? No
  • Are there Restrooms? No really. If the church is open they may allow you to use their restroom, but it’s best not to count on that.
  • Is there Accessible Parking? Yes, in the church parking lot. When church is not in service, you can use the parking lot at Twin Cities Church to access the trail as it passes along in front of the church.
  • Other Notes:  There is a variety of habitats here which can make for a variety of species. Look for fungi in the fall and winter, wildflowers in the spring, and galls in the summer.

See my FLICKR account for more albums of photos taken at this location .

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Here is an album of photos from a mushroom mosey at the ranch.

Kenny Ranch is part of the array of properties overseen by the Bear Yuba Land Trust in Nevada County, California. Bear Yuba Land Trust is a private, nonprofit, membership-supported group promoting voluntary conservation of our natural, historical and agricultural resources in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains.

The main trails on the ranch include the Wildflower Ridge Trail and the Rough & Ready Ditch Trail. You can read more about them HERE.

Across the highway from these trails is Hell’s Half Acre,but because the habitat is fragile and there are many native, rare, and endemic plant species there, access is restricted to guided tours. So, be careful not to trespass.

According to the California Native Plant Society, Hell’s Half Acre is a special bit of botanical heaven in the Sierra Nevada foothills where acres of brilliant wildflowers bloom in spring.  Surrounded by pine and oak forest, Hell’s Half Acre is a distinctive open habitat sometimes called a “Mehrten meadow”.  The forest opening is formed by shallow soils underlain by a hard volcanic mudflow, or lahar. Geologists call this a Mehrten Formation. Due to the cement-like layer and gentle slopes, rainfall collects in shallow depressions before slowly draining off or evaporating.  Showy, mostly native, annual plants thrive with little competition from invasive species.

How to Get to Kenny Ranch

  • From Sacramento:
  • Take Watt Avenue north past Auburn Blvd.
  • From Watt Avenue, use the right land to get onto I-80 East, heading toward Reno
  • When you get to the city of Auburn, take EXIT 119B for CA-49
  • Take EXIT 182A for CA-174 toward Colfax/Grass Valley
  • Turn LEFT onto Auburn Street
  • Turn LEFT onto W. Main Street
  • W. Main Street becomes the Rough & Ready Highway
  • Stay on the Rough & Ready Highway past Ridge Road
    • The Twin Cities Church will come up on your RIGHT.  It’s a very large church; you can’t miss it.
    • Pull into the first parking lot area on your right (which faces the highway) and park there.  The main trailhead is just off this parking lot.

The Twin Cities Church is located at 11726 Rough and Ready Hwy, Grass Valley, California 95945

Travels of a Certified California Naturalist