McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve
Photo © David Hunter
Sierra Foothill Conservancy’s McKenzie Table Mountain Nature Preserve (2,960 acres) is located in the southern Sierra Nevada, on the north side of Auberry Road between Millerton Road and Prather. It encompasses volcanic table mountains as well as grassland, oak woodland, and some stream side habitat along a seasonal creek that flows into Little Dry Creek. The flat-topped table mountain is of critical importance to the rare plants and animals that inhabit the seasonal vernal pools that form each winter on the mountain’s rough surface. In the spring, vernal pool wildflowers put on spectacular displays of color, making the tables an attractive destination for hikers.
While the Preserve is private property, Sierra Foothill Conservancy offers docent-led guided hikes and classes that focus on the natural history of the area. Most hikes on this preserve include a climb to the top of the table formation where visitors can enjoy vast views of the San Joaquin River drainage and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The climb to the top of the table is strenuous in part. Walking on the table top itself is difficult. Total distance from the parking area to the top of the table is about six miles, round trip. Trails at the low end of the preserve, including a 4-mile self-guided Discovery Trail along a portion of the old SJ&E Railroad right of way, are suitable for easy walking.
Guided hikes and classes are offered from fall to spring during the months of October and June. Please check Sierra Foothill Conservancy’s website for more information.
Fees: $5 donation request from non-members for hikes
The McKenzie Preserve is also a working cattle ranch. No dogs are allowed on the property.