East Ridge - Long Valley Trail Loop is a 4.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pilot Hill, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Take State Route 49 from Auburn and drive about 10 1/2 miles east down to the middle fork of the American River, up through the community of Cool, then drive another six miles to the Pedro Hill Road intersection, turn right to the parking lot.
Love this trail. It's a beautiful walk in and a pretty strenuous hike out !!!
I would recommend this trail during spring or maybe autumn.
Here is my summer afternoon experience:
- First leg (from trail head to river access). No shade - except for a handful of trees. The scenery is a bit lackluster unless you are able to appreciate the dry golden hills in high temperatures. Don't get me wrong, I love to sink into calm, less dramatic scenery, but this time I did not want to pause a lot in the heat.
- Second leg (along the river). The river is accessible almost all along this section. So you can chose your own spot. There are a couple of wider beach-like places with benches, toilets. The canvas/tarp shade above some of the bench tables is a nice thought. I can't say a lot about swimming, I wasn't prepared for that, but it was nice to walk in the water and cool down. The current seemed to be pretty fast for a summer.
Be aware of rattlesnakes, I spotted one at the first place where I wanted to go in the water. It was coming from the water, luckily it paused in the middle of the path, so I could react in time.
- Third leg (from river to trail's end). We took the Long Valley Trail here, not the one marked with red on the map here, that I believe is Cronan Ranch road.) This was the most rewarding part. By then the sun already sunk under the hills to the west and the vegetation, due to the seasonal stream, was much more diverse. The birds and bees also came back to life, which added to the atmosphere.
Unfortunately I had to star-rate it to submit my review. I did not want to, because it is a bit unfair based only on a high heat summer afternoon. I'm sure a walk during springtime makes it deserve the average 4 stars that the trail got.
As for difficulty: easy. Not ADA, but I think the pitches are a bit overrated.
Great walk. I wouldn't call it moderate. The river was great. New bathrooms down by the roger are nice to have.
Beautiful well marked trail. Lots of wild flowers and everything is still green. Good trail for beginners as well as seasoned hikers. Not a lot of shade so might be a bit too hot in another month unless you get out there early.
Great trail! Went two weekends ago when it was sunny with a slight breeze. While there are trees and shade along the way the majority of the trail is exposed so sunscreen and/or a hat is definitely a good idea. A couple of nice spots to stop and eat lunch as well. Saw a few snakes along the way including one rattlesnake so definitely stay alert and be smart! There are plenty of opportunities to bird watch and some lovely wildflowers as well. My favorite part about this trail was how empty it was, even on a Saturday afternoon. I arrived around 12pm and explored the different trails for a few hours, will definitely be back to explore some more.
Such a beautiful hike! The views were incredible! Make sure to bring a hat and plenty of water. My only regret is not starting earlier in the morning before he heat set in.
Truly fun trail. i loved that it has a very good river access points. Not so shaded but very picturesque . we saw the set of "Love comes softly" movie on the trail. Went back home and watched the movie and the movie turned out pretty good. It has bit of a challenge on the down and up trail. i wouldn't recommend this for beginners. Intermediate and above hikers will love this trail. above all, its California people.. so enjoy the weather before summer hits and go hiking !!
It was great hiking trail but a bit confusing. Being it was our first time on this trail there wasn't any clear markers on the trail indicating this was a loop so we ended up turning around before we reached the end of it.