THE ROCK AT THE NUT TREE BOULDERS ARE BASALT AND GENERALLY BLACK IN COLOR. EXCESSIVE TIC MARKING AND "POWDERING" OF HOLDS IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED AND EXTREEMLY FROUNED UPON HERE. CHALK IS HIGHLY VISIBLE AND AN EYE SORE TO HIKERS AND OTHER CLIMBERS ALIKE. PLEASE PRACTICE GOOD ETHICS AND SHOW YOUR GOOD STYLE BY LEAVING AS LITTLE TRACE ON THE ROCK AS POSSIBLE, LIMITING TIC MARKING TO A SMALL DOT AND BRUSHING OFF HOLDS AFTER YOU'RE DONE CLIMBING. EXCESSIVE CHALKING IS GRAFFITI TO 99% OF THE PEOPLE WHO USE THE OPEN SPACE LAND.
Ever climb a route at Nut Tree and wonder if it has ever been done before?
Check out the PDF of Aaron Roughs unfinished guidebook for a good list of undocumented (in any published guidebook) routes for the Nut Tree Boulders located HERE .
The Nut Tree Boulders
This basalt bouldering area sits directly above the suburban mecca known as Vacaville. That said, when it's REALLY REALLY clear out, you'll have an excellent view of the Sierra as you pull your way up excellent holds on overhung basalt.
Sitting just above a Vacaville development, this open space bouldering area has no access fees, no "real" parking area, and some really fun bouldering on fairly large rocks from 10 - 20 feet in height, and some problems keep you busy for over 30 feet.
The basalt of the area can be rather loose in spots; when you pull a roof into a somewhat uncleaned topout, expect about 30% of what you grab to be loose. It's basalt though, so it probably won't come out :)
Camping? NO! Hotels? Yes!
This area has been developed over a period of time by a variety of different people. Resultingly, you'll find different cleaning techniques, and different landing options. Some routes have an excellent almost manacured landing, and others have a nice sharp chunk of rock on a steep hillside underneath the crux. Take your pick.
Routes range from really easy to really hard, and everyone will find plenty of rotues to keep themselves entertained on almost 20 different rocks, with development potential for those that are interested.
The Nut Tree Boulders are not somewhere you want to be in the summer. In the fall and spring on hot days, you'll find most routes cooking. Winter and cool days will be excellent, provided it hasn't rained in the last 24 hours.
The Nut Tree Boulders are located in the town of Vacaville off of Highway 80 in Northern California between Sacramento and San Francisco.
From the West (San Francisco), Exit on Allison Drive / Vacaville exit. Take a left at the light onto Allison Drive. Cross the freeway and go .7 miles until the road ends and take a left onto Browns Valley Parkway. Head North on Browns Valley Parkway, which will turn into Browns Valley Road.
From the East (Sacramento), Exit Vaca Valley Parkway/Leisure Town Rd and go Right on Vaca Valley Parkway. Follow Vaca Valley Parkway until you reach the intersection with Browns Valley Rd. The Hillcrest Boulders and Boxcar Woody Boulders will be strait ahead on VV Parkway. To get to the Woodcrest Boulders follow Vacavalley Parkway until it ends and make a left onto Wrentham. Follow Wrentham for a ways until you can make a Right onto Woodcrest.
Stay on Browns Valley road for 1.3 Miles until it intesects Vaca Valley Parkway and take a left. Stay on Vaca Valley Parkway until you can make a right turn on Hillcrest Circle. Say on Hillcrest through the circle until the road makes a left, then park in the development on the street next to a cattle gate and trail.
Stay on Browns Valley Road for a short 6 /10ths of a mile. Make a left turn onto Wrentham. Continue 3 short blocks and make a left onto Woodcrest. Park on the street next to a gate that has a dirt road and an ugly looking barbed wire fence behind it.
Either follow Browns Valley Rd and make a Left onto Vaca Valley Parkway. Then follow VV Parkway until it ends. The Boulders will obvious next to the road on the right. Or, from Browns Valley Rd, take a left onto Wrentham like you're headed to the Woodcrest boulders but keep going until Wrentham ends at Vaca Valley Parkway. Park on the street next to the boulders or across the street next to the Church.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Nut Tree Boulders:
The rock out here does require that you "know" how to pull on holds that may be suspect on many of the taller problems. Reason being that I put them up from the ground cleaning as I went. When I was that far off the ground, minimal cleaning was happening :)
I hope people are being smart about the landings. I did the problems w/o needing to remove every boulder from the base. It simply isn't necessary with crashpads. I spent about a month talking with the land manager in 2000 making sure bouldering was acceptable and one of his concerns was people making major alterations aka the bordering small "walls" of rocks. I explained to him that they were in order to keep the cows out from the base of the boulders and creating massive muck holes when muddy and he understood, but I don't think he would be all the happy to see some of the boulders underneath landings dug up aka Suburban Hellholes landing for example.
There are over 300 established problems that cover the entire two hillsides. I have a full comprehensive guide already drafted, I just need to run it to the printers. Its one of those, "OK I'll do it now" but then end up adding new problems and then updating then repeating the cycle. It will be out by the end of the year though for sure.
For a cool experience, hike up to the Mother Boulder and bring a honey. Sit and watch the sun go down to the west over the hills and enjoy some cool views before getting your freak on :)
By Aron Quiter Administrator From: Berkeley, CA Nov 11, 2004
Ah! Finally some criticism with suggestions! All the suggestions have been updated.
In the case of the Nut Tree boulders. Certainly many of the obvious problems were done by earlier generations. Charlie Wyatt, who I work with, has shared many stories with about the exploits of the 80s, and early 90s. In addition, once you have developed enough routes, as Salamanzer can attest to, you KNOW when you're on rock that has been developed before or not. There is no questions that a lot of the bigger / cleaner boulders were the site of earlier development, but much of the Nut Tree boulders, was, and is still, completely unknown to everyone except the few people I have shown around. Most people do not have the adventurous spirit to hike the entire hillside canvasing back and forth up and over ridges and hills to *make sure* they know whats out there as opposed to go straight for what they can see from the road. There are almost 400 problems out there now and the majority of those aren't on boulders that are "obvious" and most took cleaning to make them climbable in any state aka there was rock that crumbled off (often in VERY large blocks) on touch, let alone pulling for climbing.
I've been getting back out on the boulders lately with temps starting to cool down, but you won't see me just hanging out at the usual boulders. I'll be out not-developing not-new problems on not-obvious boulders, which are not-cleaned, and not-having TR bolts on top.
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA Jan 25, 2009
Finally made it out here today and had a great time. Kudos to Aaron Rough, Chris Summit, and the others who have established some fun, quality problems. I found the views from the Stonewall Boulder to be very pleasant. This is a nice escape from the hustle-bustle of the big city. Thanks again guys for all the hard work.
You should never have to jump the fence. At worst is a scramble over the Cattle Gate. For Woodcrest, take the left dirt road up the hill about 200 yards and there is a gate on your right. For Hillcrest, at the apex of a loop is a trail leading to a little valley with a swing gate. Boxcar Woody follow the fence line from the boulders down west and hop the cattle gate. There are several other access points but you have to be a little more familiar with the area.
Hey, been reading up on this area a lot the past few months and came up with a map that might make navigation a little easier... Let me know if some of the boulders are in the wrong spot as I am new to this area and haven't been able to visit all the problems yet...
Heeheehaha: Your boulders are in the right location, the No Name on the Hillcrest side is Mad Cow Boulder. As for the Nut Tree, there is A LOT more out there than people think. I last updated my guide to I think 267 problems (at work so can't look) but have another 50 or so logged in my notebook that I need to update the topo with.
I have been toying with the idea of updating my website with the link to the up to date guide for the Nut Tree, Table, and Auburn plus the obscura of places I have topos for in Norcal (Natural Bridges, The Shredding, etc..). I'll post a link when I do.
Sweet man, thanks for all your contributions! I think I might head down Saturday early so I can actually TRY to visit ALL the problems, haha. BTW, I heard about some TR setups in Rockville Park, are those still good?
On the Stonewall Boulder, on the east face, there is a substantial spraypainting..we tried many of these routes: Seam, Stonewall Problem, Stonewall Traverse...they were not doable with the slips from the paint.
By Salamanizer Administrator From: Vacaville Ca. Jan 25, 2013
Yes they are, I climbed them all last week. Just a little slick and greasy feeling that's all. Perhaps just a tad harder. There are a couple problems that are almost impossible though. Buy Me Dinner or whatever that V7ish one move wonder is pretty much is improbable now with super slicked over micro holds. And the lower traverse is next to impossible which it already was before the thick coating of paint.
All the standards are still good to go. A few people with some time to kill, some paint remover, wire brushes and some elbow grease and we'd be back in business.
By Salamanizer Administrator From: Vacaville Ca. Apr 11, 2013
This line of comments could use a clean up
Done! I only removed the negative comments and posts but left all pertinent useful information. Most of it was old and outdated anyway. Typically I'm against editing anyone elses posts, but it was a bit out of control. Sorry if that offends anyone.