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 is primarily used for hiking, trail running, horses, and mountain biking 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.
This trail is beautiful during the Spring and one of my favorites during the springtime. Great panoramic views and wild flowers everywhere! It's a pretty easy trail, there are a few climbs here and there, but nothing too crazy. There are nice spots by the river if you want to take a dip. I would recommend bringing plenty of water especially hitting the trail on a hot day, there's very few shade. If you take The Long Valley Trail you'll come across the movie set of Love Comes Softly and towards the end of the trail you'll be walking along side a sheep herd.
Nice long hike. A few steep areas that are a bit hard if you're out of shape. River was beautiful as well as the windflowers. Bathrooms are kept up and placed perfectly throughout the trail. A few shady areas to rest but mostly sunny with no cover. Bring a hat.
Great park in the spring. Lots of green and wildflowers. Not too many people before 10 am on a Saturday. I drove by the exit to the trail head so make sure you have that in your GPS. Trail head signs need replacing as they are very faded. There were horses on this trail so watch your step. Mountain bikers use this area too. And off leash dogs. I did a counterclockwise loop. Started down the main trail (Cronan Ranch Trail). Then I took Long Valley Trail to get off the main trail. Near the structure I made a mistake trying to get to the river. I corrected myself and took the trail right next to the structure (not South Fork Trail) though I think it swings back. Cronan Ranch Trail takes hikers to the river too. I explored the river a bit but I didn't find any good spots to take pictures of the river from above. I continued my loop from the river via the East Ridge Trail because I wanted to sit at the benches. But those looked rotten and about to collapse. I made it back to my car after hiking 4.76 miles. Not too bad. I'll be back.
Awsome views and easy to find trails, if you're looking for a shady walk though this isn't the place. Lots of options for different routes, well maintained and fairly level all-round. Beautiful landscape
Great hike, bathrooms and benches along the way. Butterfly's were floating around following you around the trails. River sounded and felt great
Great for a walk, see and hear the river
Lovely walk, beautiful green hills and river walk!
Beautiful trail system with great water access (including restrooms). We took the Long Valley Trail down to the river, returning on the Down & Up trail which is a short, but tough climb with wonderful views at the top. Highly recommended for a quick getaway!