The Peoria Wildlife Management Area (aka Peoria Flat) is a public recreation area open to activities such as hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing (on nearby Table Mountain), wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and hunting (as regulated by the California Department of Fish and Game). This area was purchased specifically to mitigate wildlife habitat loss due to the construction of New Melones Dam and reservoir in 1979. The Peoria Wildlife Area is located at the southwest end of New Melones Lake and a few miles west of Jamestown. It consists of 2,500 acres of oak woodlands and offers spectacular views of New Melones Lake and Dam as well as Table Mountain. This area is open year-round but can get rather hot in the summer so come prepared.
Peoria Flat Trails
There are three named trails within the Peoria Wildlife Area with a combined length of 9.7 miles, 12 miles including the Table Mountain Trail. The three trails are Peoria Ridge, Peoria Mountain and Green Springs Trail. These trails are accessed via one of two trailheads; off of Shell Rd and another off Old Melones Rd, on the southwest side of Peoria Ridge. Keep in mind that none of the trails are marked and there are also other unmarked trails within the Peoria Wildlife Area so a GPS definitely helps. Also, since these are multi-use trails please practice trail etiquette; hikers yield to horseback riders and mountain bikers yield to both.
Your access point will depend on how much hiking or biking you plan to do. If you decide to park at Shell Rd you’ll need to hike about 2.5 miles along the base of Table Mountain to get to the Peoria Ridge Trailhead. On the other hand, parking off of Old Melones Rd will allow you to do a loop via all three trails. If you decide on the loop option my recommendation is to do it in the counter-clockwise direction since hiking it clockwise will require a steep climb up Peoria Mountain. The length of this loop is 9.7 miles but can be cut short by taking the Peoria Ridge Bisect Trail back down to the parking area.