The Table Mountain Trail, located between Jamestown and New Melones Lake, is a 2.7 mile one-way hike ranging from easy and flat at the beginning to rocky and steep near the top. This particular hike consists of two sections, the first section starts at Shell Rd and meanders through oak woodlands for 1.2 miles. The second section is where the climb up Table Mountain begins and is 1.5 miles in length. This section starts out with moderate climbing and once you get near the top becomes really steep and rocky but anyone with a moderate amount of physical ability can do it.
The Table Mountain Hike is all about the views. Once you get to the top you are rewarded with vast panoramas of New Melones to the west and views of Jamestown and beyond to the east. The top of Table Mountain is fully exposed with very little shade so make sure you are prepared for that. One can easily spend an hour or more at the top roaming around, exploring and taking in all the beautiful scenery. The best time for this hike is in the spring when the wildflowers (lupin, poppies and a host of others) blanket the entire plateau of Table Mountain. It’s a sea of color and the temperatures are much more bearable. The summer on top of Table Mountain can get pretty warm.
Trailhead parking is at the end of Shell Rd, off of Rawhide, where the road turns to dirt. You will see a closed gate. Park here and start your hike at the “Table Mtn Trail” sign. Take care not to block driveways and respect the local residents. An alternative is to drive through the gate (make sure and close it behind you), drive for one mile on dirt and park near the restrooms. This will cut the hike in half. I recommend the first option.
Click here for a trail map of the area.
- Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
- Distance: 2.7 miles one-way
- Elevation Change: 680 ft.
- Best Season: Spring
- Open To: Hikers
- Dogs: Yes
- Managed By: Bureau of Reclamation